The leader of Crawley Borough Council has called for more police on the town’s streets, saying ‘things are getting totally out of hand’.
Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate) took to social media after reports that a woman had been raped in the Memorial Gardens on Sunday (January 6).
Speaking about drugs and violent crime ‘on a scale Crawley has never faced before’, he warned that cutting the number of officers would see crime rise.
This was not the first time Mr Lamb had criticised the state of policing in the area.
Having been on the receiving end of complaints from frustrated members of the public about ‘decreasing police responsiveness’, he helped to launch a campaign and petition calling on Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, to ensure the town had the officers it needed.
Launched in October, the petition is still running.
Mr Lamb said: “It’s common sense that if you cut police officer numbers, you see crime go up.
“It has been seen time and time again around the world.
“Sussex Police have faced cuts of over 700 under the current government.
“For all the boasts of recruitment now, the number of officers still leaving the profession means we’re seeing less than a third of what we have lost replaced.
“That’s simply not enough when we are seeing drugs and violence on a scale Crawley has never faced before. It’s time we got back the officers we lost.”
Mrs Bourne said: “Since the middle of last year, Sussex Police has embarked on their largest recruitment programme since 2008, with 108 new police officers hitting the streets across the county already with more to come.
“I am currently consulting with local residents to gauge their support for a further increase in funding for Sussex Police.”
Referring to the amount of council tax allocated to the police each year, she added: “I’m sure the residents of Crawley can count on their borough council representative on the Police and Crime Panel to vote for a rise in the police precept to help Sussex Police make more police officers available.”
Currently, around 10p in every pound of council tax paid goes to the police.
When asked about the lack of lighting in the Memorial Gardens, Mr Lamb said that, while lighting did make people feel safer, ‘experiments have shown improved lighting doesn’t reduce crime’.