Cracking anti-social behaviour

Katy Bourne the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex at the Eastbourne Herald with Group Managing Editor Keith Ridley. March 26th 2013 E13105P
Katy Bourne the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex at the Eastbourne Herald with Group Managing Editor Keith Ridley. March 26th 2013 E13105P

More offenders who admit to anti-social behaviour in Sussex could avoid court by facing up to their actions.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, admitted that tackling anti-social behaviour in the county was one of the key parts of her new police and crime plan which will be published next week.

One area of dealing with this is through community resolution, said Mrs Bourne.

Community resolution works on similar lines to the restorative justice principle, where victims tell the offenders the real impact of their crime, while the offenders themselves are held to account for what they have done - but without going to court or getting a criminal record.

The recently-elected police chief admitted that community resolution for low level crime, notably anti-social behaviour, has already been working well in Sussex.

“Anti-social behaviour, because it affects everyone’s lives is hugely important,” she said.

“So with community resolution, if police catch the offender and they admit the crime, police can then decide with the victim what would be the best resolution for that offence.

“We have had a lot of success with this and it prevents crime from happening again.”

Next Thursday, the Sussex Police Crime Panel’s will be reviewing the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, as well as to scrutinise key strategic decisions, and review senior appointments.

At the meeting, which will be held at County Hall in Lewes, the panel is being asked to confirm the appointment of Mark Streater as chief executive for the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner at a salary of £82,000.

They will also be asked to confirm the appointment of John Eagles as the chief finance officer at £77,000 a year.

It brings the number of people employed by the office of the Police Crime Commissioner to 13, including Mrs Bourne on £85,000 and her new deputy Steve Waight on £45,000 a year, who was appointed in February.

Mrs Bourne has defended the additions, pointing out that compared to the previous Police Authority whose staffing cost annually over £400,000, she works with a much leaner set-up saving around £186,000.

She explained: “Sussex is a very big area with a population of 1.6 million.

“Within the first two weeks, the correspondence to our office had increased by 3,500 per cent.

“So you can she why I needed an extra pair of hands.”

Sussex Police has had to find around £50million in savings by 2015, which Mrs Bourne admitted had not been easy.

However, she pointed out how crime in the county had decreased for the past seven years and she vowed to continue that trend, even with lesser resources.

“I am keen that we look at ways of keeping police officers on the beat more regularly by being smarter using new technology, for example using tablets which stop officers going back to the station to input information when they can stay at the scene of a crime for longer,” added Mrs Bourne.