‘Ringleaders’ causing anti-social behaviour in Bognor Regis are being dealt with by police and other organisations, Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner was told this week.
Katy Bourne appeared before a town electors meeting on Monday (March 19) to hear concerns about crime directly from residents and businesses.
During a fiery event she was told crime and anti-social behaviour was ‘rife’ and a daily occurrence.
She raised these concerns with Sussex Police’s top officers at a performance and accountability meeting today (Friday March 23).
Chief constable Giles York said: “My assurance is we are not dismissive of this in any way. Neither are we blind or ignorant to it and we are working hard in policing and across partners in order to be able to do more with it.”
He described how it might seem like there were ‘whole gangs of people’ causing trouble, but he had been in Bognor several weeks ago to hear how organisations were working with a ‘couple of individuals who are the catalyst in the middle of this’.
Laurence Taylor, assistant chief constable, said that combating anti-social behaviour is ‘definitely a priority’ for Sussex Police, which is primarily dealt with by its prevention teams working with partner organisations.
A number of powers can be used including civil injunctions, crime behaviour orders, dispersal orders or community protection notices.
He said: “There will always be a core of people who tend to be the catalysts for the behaviour.
“If we can change behaviour and enforce some of this legislation and remove that catalyst, some of the other people who are being young people we can support in better ways.”
Bognor has experienced a 23 per cent reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour over the last four years, however the town has seen an increase in the past year.
Police ran two specific operations on March 2 and March 15/16, the second of which had to be curtailed due to the severe cold weather and has been rescheduled for early April.
Arun District Council is looking to take out a civil injunction against one of the ringleaders, while a second ringleader was arrested by police and has ‘stringent’ bail conditions.
Mrs Bourne said: “You talk about you have got community prevention teams but I feel that the public tension there is rising and they are so frustrated and I do think some of this good work is clearly not being understood.”
Mr Taylor replied: “It’s absolutely one of our priorities for Sussex Police for people to be safe and feel safe.”
He added: “There is a lot of working going on in the area and there are people out on the streets addressing some of this. We are arresting and putting appropriate measures in place to deal with some of those ringleaders and clearly we need to do more to communicate that.”
Mrs Bourne said: “The adults are feeling totally emasculated.”
Mr Taylor described how they had made three arrests the week before.
He added: “There is an awful lot of activity going on in that area. Often things do not get resolved overnight and I accept the frustration of the community when this is going on.
“We do have a response to it and we are looking to address it as far as we can in conjunction with our partners.”
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