Funding from new building developments & police effectiveness

Police officer

New properties mean there is an increased demand on local services, and that includes policing. In total Sussex Police has sought £3.7 million in funds through Section 106 agreements or the Community Infrastructure Levy, (CIL). However, the police are dependent on the support of Local Authorities to recognise the impact of new housing on police.

Unfortunately, £2 million worth of applications has not been not been supported by the relevant Local Planning Authority or the planning application has been withdrawn. Sussex Police have been rigorously identifying those developments which we calculate will impact local policing and we have applications for a further £857,000 currently under consideration.

Independent scrutiny of policing is an essential part of maintaining public confidence. This week Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its police ‘Effectiveness’ report, which comes at a critical time for Sussex Police, following the redesign of its approach to local policing.

It is reassuring that, despite this redesign, Sussex is assessed as being Good overall, and Good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It is also welcome news that Sussex is judged to be Good at investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people and tackling organised crime.

The report does, however, highlight public engagement as an area where the forces falls short. Part of the problem is that the force is spending less time engaging with local communities which means that, whilst it understands risks to most communities, it doesn’t understand people’s specific concerns; and more puzzling, it doesn’t understand why anti-social behaviour has fallen in some areas.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne says “I want to thank all the officers and staff in Sussex Police for their professionalism and patience through the changes of the past three years. I know how dedicated they are to public service. Although their efforts are keeping Sussex a safe place to live and work, there is still a public confidence gap that the force needs to close through, visible and proportionate local policing.

Today I held my monthly Performance & Accountability Meeting with the Chief Constable. Following the shocking news of the recent Salisbury nerve agent attack, I asked how confident Sussex Police – and the Sussex Resilience Forum – is that the county is prepared and rehearsed to respond to any such attack. I also asked what learning the police are taking from the situation in Wiltshire, particularly around the management of public health concerns. You can watch the meeting again in the webcast archive. Other topics on the agenda at today’s meeting included how anti social behaviour is being dealt with through the new local policing model; call handling times to 101, the police non-emergency number; and outstanding police warrants.

Residents, quite rightly, want to know how the money they contribute to policing, through their Council Tax, is being spent. The Chief Constable has told me that the increased investment in 2018/19 will support a preventative police presence in our local communities and ensure the force is accessible when people need it. Sussex Police is now revising a plan for the next four years detailing where the investment from this year’s precept will go, how that affects officer numbers and where they are deployed. I am confident that, if the force makes this investment into local, neighbourhood policing, it will be reflected in improved public confidence and an improved HIMCFRS rating at the next inspection.”

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