News: Meeting the Commissioner

Posted on 13th January 2016

This week I went along to the Crime Panel meeting for Dunstall and Victoria Wards and heard the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner speak about crime and policing in the County.

Katy Bourne, a former MSDC Tory Councillor, was elected to this role in 2012 and she seems to work very hard in her top post.  She told us of her close liaison with the Sussex Police Chief Constable – she has a two hour meeiting with him every Friday – and the progress they have made in making the policing more effective. Although the recent threat of a 40% reduction in funding was shelved, they will still face cuts of £7m or £8 in the near future as part of austerity measures. Included in these changes will be a reduction in the number of PCSOs, who will also have to take on more demanding work.

She is trying to reduce the amount of police time spent responding to non-emergency calls, encouraging officers to sort them out by officers making decisions instead of logging them and passing them on up the line. All police now have mobile phones, which was not the case ubtil recently, and this should save them time in recording crimes.

The police have to take account of the changing nature of criminal behaviour – much of it is computer based now. Child sexual exploitation is one of the key priorities now, with so many historic cases coming through that it will cost £1bn annually in Britain! She told us that at any one time there may be 750,000 paedophiles online!

Katy believes that although the police may be less visible these days,  they are very impressive, “a huge, sophisticated machine” working behind the scenes. For example, there are still 27 officers working with the victims of the Shoreham air crash. Katy is also responsible for the budget for victims of crime and restorative justice, which she feels can be very effective. She makes decisions about where the money is spent, but not about police deployments and tactics.

When I asked her about travellers, she told me exactly how and why things had changed. Section 61 allows the police to move on travellers if there are more than four vehicles involved. Section 62 allows the police to move them to a transit park if there is one in the area. If they refuse to move, they can be banned from entering the county area for 3 months apparently.  The key to this is the availability of transit areas for them to move to. More have been developed recently, and so the problem for the business parks has eased.

Sussex is 14th of 41 counties in terms of size and has 5000 officers. We should be glad to know that The Chief Constable has ‘catching the criminals’ as one of his main tenets.  It was interesting to hear from Katy, who seems to be enjoying her role and bringing some common sense to policing in Sussex.

Back to News ›

Testimonials

"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."

Steve Mooney
(Steven Mooney Machinery)

"The BHBPA is the most effective and dynamic business organisation I have ever worked with in over 30 years in Local Government. It has a very active and large membership whose points of view are taken seriously by all government structures. Peter Liddell does an excellent job in providing unique and enjoyable networking opportunities where members interact and discuss points of mutual interest. It provides a forum for businesses to discuss common issues, to share experiences and to play a powerful and meaningful role in the Burgess Hill community. The BHBPA provides important and credible support for all its members and ensures that their best interests are represented where necessary. "

Steve Cridland, CEO
(Burgess Hill Town Council)

"The BHBPA is an energetic and vocal organisation that connects and empowers and informs the local business community acting as an effective conduit to local authority and other organisations. We are proud to be part of that community and the association."

Nick Broom, Managing Director
(PVL UK Ltd)

"“We have been members of BHBPA from its inception, and seen the organisation steadily grow and expand into the dynamic entity it is today, bringing positive benefits to all its members.""

Peter Hook, Manager
(Computer Systems Engineers)