Police officers made street-drinking their prime focus as they patrolled Eastbourne town centre with the county crime commissioner today (Friday July 21).
Crime commissioner for Sussex Police Katy Bourne joined officers as part of an anti knife-crime campaign but the focus turned to street drinkers.
“It’s rare to find someone with a knife, but street drinking and antisocial behaviour are a real issue for people here,” said PC Ed Faulkner who patrols the town centre daily.
During the patrol several members of the public stopped the commissioner and the officers to complain about drinkers on Eastbourne’s streets.
Andrew Russell, who lives on Susans Road, said, “It’s horrendous. People hang around outside All Souls Church, they drink, use drugs, urinate and defecate.
“They waste ambulance time and police time. We want to know what the long-term plan is to deal with this.”
Crime commissioner Katy Bourne said she was lobbying hard to get more done to reduce street drinking and had already noticed an improvement in the past few months.
The officers also attended an alley off Bolton Road frequented by a group of around 15 drug users and gave a warning to another street drinker at Iceland supermarket.
“If she opens her can she will receive a dispersal order which bans her from the central tourist area of the town,” said PC Scott Franklin-Lester.
Store manager Ian Mason said, “We get a lot of complaints from customers about drinkers in the store. Calling 101 takes too long.”
PC Franklin-Lester said people should call 999 if drinkers are shouting, swearing or causing fear, and asked them not to give up on 101 calls in non-emergency situations.
The officers also pointed out a former known crack house on Susans Road which had been closed down thanks to police intervention.
Max Del Gaudio who runs the nearby Moda Barber shop said the police’s action had made a difference to his business.
“Women walk down the street now where they didn’t before,” he said.
On the issue of knife crime in the area, PC Ed Faulkner said, “If you carry a knife you are more likely to be injured by a knife. The punishment for having one in your possession is really severe. It is much better to avoid it.”