PCC tackles rural crime issues in West Sussex


Rural crime is a topic which concerns many residents in West Sussex – and it’s a key focus for the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne.

Earlier this week, Mrs Bourne chaired a rural crime roundtable discussion in Billingshurst with local parish councils, farming and estate representatives, Sussex Police, Neighbourhood Watch and the High Sheriff of West Sussex. A similar event was held in January in Battle, addressing rural crime in East Sussex.

Issues covered at this week’s event included hi-tech crime involving tractors and equipment, intruders onto farm property, poachers and coursers. The importance of good, two-way communication with Sussex Police was highlighted, with participants stating that they want to be able to liaise with the Force and pass on local intelligence.

PCSO Erica Baxter described a new initiative in Horsham encouraging parish councils to work alongside the police, strengthening links and feeding local intelligence. She said: ‘It’s really important that people in rural communities feel confident in reporting crimes. In order to do this they need to forge links with the Force and I’m working hard to make sure this happens in the parishes around Horsham.’

Katy Bourne said: ‘Contacting the police is a key priority for residents in more isolated rural communities. The Force is currently improving the way that the public can contact them - though it’s not just about reporting crimes, it’s also about the follow up and for rural communities that means knowing what happens afterwards.

‘I’m determined that our rural communities are listened to and am pleased that Sussex Police have pledged to train every new recruit in how to deal with rural crime. I’m keen to find even better ways of working in terms of communication, investigation and feedback.

‘This sort of roundtable discussion is really valuable and all information received at the West Sussex event will be fed back to Sussex Police to inform future decision-making.’

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