If elected as Police and Crime Commissioner I will strengthen the links between the Police and other statutory Crime Reduction agencies such Probation, the Courts and Prison Service as well as the 15 Local Councils in Sussex. I will also maximise the opportunities for these organisations to work closely with Voluntary Sector that can achieve a great deal with modest resources. That does not mean attempting to do things on the cheap, but it does mean respecting those willing to act as volunteers and working creatively to encourage innovation. Finally the private sector also has a vital role to play. I believe that local procurement is essential for any responsible public agency and that sourcing fairly traded goods wherever possible is also important. Only by all sectors of society pulling together, can we deal with issues such as Ant-Social Behaviour in an adequate manner as well as addressing its causes. However the public is right to be nervous of the risk of creating an environment where shareholders can profit from the use of public funds, just as they have a right to expect all public agencies to spend their taxes in the most cost effective manner.
Below I have listed some of the voluntary sector agencies who are working to reduce crime in Sussex.
A national charity that has its roots in Sussex, CRI works with many people whose actions have led them to becoming part of the criminal justice system. The charity works closely with the Probation services for Sussex.
Neighbourhood Watch is a well established way of encouraging the people who live in the same area to keep an eye on one another, to be good neighbours and spot early signs of Anti Social Behaviour and other criminal activity in residential area. I recently attended the AGM of a linked organisation (North Sussex Search Team)
Streetwatch is relatively new to Sussex and is being trialled in the Adur area. It is one way for people to play an organised role in their locality, with training provided by Sussex Police. Streetwatch has been shown to reduce the levels of Anti Social Behaviour and other criminal activity in neighbourhoods
I have personally been involved in the establishment of the Street Pastors scheme in Brighton, which has enabled me to understand the extensive areas of partnership working that Sussex Police is already involved in. Street Pastors and Street Angels operate in rural and urban locations reducing the potential for Anti Social Behaviour and violent crime through what is known as Tone Setting. These schemes work in partnership with the Police and other agencies such as doorstaff, taxi marshalls and safe space schemes. Based on data for at least one of the areas where the Street Pastors operate, there has been a reduction in injuries caused by violent crime of some 20%
Street Games are an organisation that supports local groups involved in community based sports activities for young people, with a particular emphasis on young people who would not otherwise have access to such activities. As well as this being good for the young people concerned, all of us benefit. In one of the schemes Street Games supports near Hastings, there has been a 24% reduction in Anti Social Behaviour whilst these sessions are taking place.
I am a founder Trustee of Sussex Pathways, a charity that provides mentoring support for men and women who have been in prison and for whom returning to society is a challenge. They are often without a home to go to, or work and often their circle of friends is very small. Enabling them to find meaningful activities, and somewhere to live can have a significant impact on their likelihood of re-offending. The volunteer mentors work with the ex-prisoners and help make Sussex safer for us all, helping to reduce re-offending rates by around 50% when compared to rates for individuals who have not been helped.