On Tuesday the Police & Crime Panel unanimously supported my decision to appoint Jo Shiner as the new Chief Constable of Sussex Police.
In one of her first actions as Chief, she joined Katy Bourne, Sussex Police Commissioner, as the newest member of our recently established Safer Sussex Business Partnership, demonstrating her commitment to tackling business crime.
In this meeting with representatives from large retailers, smaller businesses, security and business crime experts, we addressed the 32% rise in physical assaults, verbal abuse and intimidation against shopworkers.
It was revealed that these crimes have been exacerbated by the current pandemic because of social distancing and shortages of certain food items. One large retailer logged over 7,300 incidents within the last three months, including physical assaults and verbal abuse of staff.
It was noted that the majority of crimes are carried out by prolific offenders, who use threatening and sometimes violent behaviour if challenged by staff. It was agreed that better intelligence sharing with the police is key to ensuring these people are taken off our streets.
Chief Constable Shiner said; “We have seen how intrinsic retail workers are to our way of life: treating them like this is not how we show our thanks, and we are committed to bringing this sort of crime down. No one deserves to go to work in fear of violence.”
Another two meetings have been scheduled for later this month to identify easier and less time-consuming ways for businesses to report crime and then subsequently how officers will investigate and feedback results.