CRIME has been falling in Eastbourne for the last three years, down by 19 per cent - that is an amazing figure.
But I am very aware that the tough economic climate can result in increases in certain types of crime.
As a result we remain vigilant in our daily process in Eastbourne, reviewing each crime reported to us, seeing where a pattern emerges and taking steps to prevent further offences and catch the culprits.
During the continuing dark evenings I ask you pay attention to your sheds and outbuildings, check they are secure and that items of value such as lawnmowers and bikes cannot be seen.
We are still seeing one or two offences of thefts during the month relating to sheds and remote garages.
Sussex Police has recently launched Community Resolution as an alternative way of dealing with less serious offences and allowing officers to use their professional judgement when deciding the outcome of the offence.
It can be applied to offences such as low-level public order, theft, criminal damage and minor assaults. It gives officers more power to make a decision about how a person should make amends for his or her actions. The victim remains at the heart of the decision making process.
The first example in Eastbourne was where a local person was caught stealing a coat from a pub. The culprit has returned the item and apologised for their actions, with full involvement of the victim.
The decision was that this was more appropriate reparation than going through the court system.
We believe Community Resolution is reinforcing the discretion of officers and common sense policing that puts victims first.
Of course, we will continue to treat more serious crimes in the appropriate manner.
For some months now I have been letting you know how much work we are doing on improving the quality of service my teams deliver, especially those unfortunate enough to become a victim of crime, or be involved in a road collision.
I am delighted to say this month, Eastbourne was the only district in the whole force to improve in all three areas of this performance target:
(1) ‘Satisfaction with Action Taken’ (2) ‘Satisfaction with Whole experience for vehicle crime’ and lastly (3) ‘Satisfaction with being kept informed’.
My team is committed to doing the right thing from beginning to end - we try as best we can to prevent the crime occurring in the first place, we try our best to catch the person/s responsible, while doing this we treat you with respect and keep you up to date with the progress of the investigation.
In each and every contact we have with you we want to provide a professional service.
Comments we have received from those surveyed include:
“They treated us with respect and sensitivity, took practical action and kept us informed with progress”, “I can’t fault them at all they were very good” and “I thought they were brilliant”.
These are just a few. Where we have not got the service right we do what we can to address this, with a visit and personal contact.
In the coming weeks, my team will work closely with colleagues in the Road Policing Unit to be visible at primary and junior school drop offs and pick ups, to offer advice around seat belt use and where appropriate give warnings about lack of appropriate restraints. I urge you to consider this every time you put your children in the car.
Our Eastbourne twitter site has really taken off over the past few months with more than 570 followers. Have a look for yourself. Find us at www.twitter.com/eastbournepol
Lastly, I share some of the good results the team has had, especially where there is learning for all of us.
Recently in a local supermarket, an 87 year old lady paid for her shopping with her credit card, unbeknown to her she was overlooked by a male behind her, watching her key in her PIN number.
Outside she was approached by a male purporting to be from the store, stating there was a problem and asking her to hand over her credit card which she duly did. This male was now in possession of her card and the PIN he had seen her key in. He made off from the scene with her card.
In a scenario which unfolded like an episode from The Bill, officers picked up the incident and worked with the lady and the store to identify a suspect, arrest him, and charge him with the offence. He is due for sentencing next month. All credit to the lady who recalled such detail about the suspect.
The age of the lady in this offence is an irrelevance really. We all need to be more aware of the security of PIN numbers, and I would advise you to never hand over your credit card to someone you don’t know.
We are already planning resources for the arrival of spring and the busy season. If you have any concerns about any crime related matters and wish to speak to your Neighbourhood Policing Team - contact details can be found at www.sussex.police.uk