Commissioner questioned over lack of police presence in Arundel

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne spoke to residents
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne spoke to residents

Facing criticism about levels of policing in Arundel, Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said the town could have had a community police presence but missed its chance.

She said money to help fund a community warden in the town was offered to Arundel Town Council last year but was not taken up.

But Arundel mayor Angela Standing has said the town deserves a PCSO.

Appearing at a meeting of Arundel Town Council last Thursday, Mrs Bourne said: “Eighteen months ago I offered [a community warden] to all the councils across Sussex.

“A community warden would be owned by you and directed by you.”

The posts were to be part-funded by Sussex Police for two years to allow councils to adjust and raise funds.

But Mrs Bourne said only two councils took her up on the offer.

She said: “We are in a different environment now. It’s not an option anymore.

“Unfortunately, that money that was put aside has gone back into the police budget.”

The possibility of a community warden was raised during public questions at a mmeting of Arundel Town Council in February 2016.

The council’s response at the time was: “The current pilots are being run by district councils and being charged at approximately £40,000 per annum.

“Due to the cost of the provision, lack of stakeholder support, and the definition of the role Arundel Town Council chose not to take it further.”

Facing calls for an Arundel PCSO, Mrs Bourne said budget constraints meant numbers had had to be cut.

She also heard from residents asking if it was worth reporting crimes in the town if police do not have the resources to investigate.

She said: “My plea to you is please bother, [or else] police will say there’s no evidence there’s any issue because there’s no reports. So we can’t put our resources in those areas.”

Mrs Standing said: “Whilst we accept reported crime figures are down in Arundel and across Sussex, we would welcome a PCSO or any kind of police presence in Arundel to reassure both residents and visitors.

“We also encourage people and businesses to report any and all crimes, however minor, to ensure that the appropriate resources can be allocated to our town.”