Eastbourne is not a focus of gang violence, say police


Police have said they are not looking at Eastbourne as a risk area for gang violence after the town was named on a national policing list last week.

The statement comes after the Home Office reported that Eastbourne and Hastings were among 52 towns and cities across the UK which would be getting specialist support to tackle gang violence.

The additional support, including advice from experts in gang violence and exploitation, is intended to tackle the danger of organised drugs networks expanding outside major cities as well as other related problems.

But police have since said the support will only go to Hastings.

A police spokesman said, “Sussex Police and local partners are fully committed to protecting vulnerable people and dealing with youth crime in all the county’s seaside towns.

“There is no evidence that Sussex has a gang culture where young people become involved in crime through their allegiance to a gang, however we know that youth violence - often drink or drug fuelled - can occur.

“We also know that vulnerable people locally can be at risk of being exploited where drug gangs from London seek to move into a provincial towns, and it was to this end Sussex Police and our partners welcome this offer of additional advice and guidance from experts who are able to share good practice.

“This enables us to build on the strong partnership work already going on across Sussex to protect vulnerable people.”

They added, “Eastbourne was not part of the focus and currently Hastings is the only area in Sussex that will become one of the 52 areas nationally offered this additional support from the Home Office.”

The statement has been welcomed by Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, who said it would be a relief to residents.

Mrs Ansell said, “I very much welcome the clarification from Sussex Police that this Home Office funding to tackle gangs and knife crime will actually be used in Hastings and not Eastbourne.

“I’m sure this is a relief to residents, who would have been very concerned to hear about this sort of funding coming to a low crime town like Eastbourne when, as I said last week, there was no evidence at all of such a problem.

“I will continue to speak regularly with Eastbourne’s police commanders on all issues affecting the town because, although Eastbourne is a safe and pleasant place to live, there can be no room for complacency and, of course, there are issues of anti-social behaviour in particular that must be addressed.

“I wish Sussex Police every success with the initiative in Hastings, which I’m sure will be very effective in the months to come.”