Drug crime concerns prompt police to hold a day of action

The police action day was based outside the Gala Bingo hall in Rowlands Road
The police action day was based outside the Gala Bingo hall in Rowlands Road

POLICE responded to concerns surrounding drug-related crime in a Worthing road by holding a day of action.

Worried residents in Rowlands Road had expressed their concern over drug crime and the amount of ‘for sale’ and ‘to let’ signs going up in the area at a community panel meeting.

Sometimes people feel that just because a crime has happened, it’s not important to report it.

PC Marvin Lucas

As a result, Sussex Police formed a Local Action Team (LAT) which has worked on several initiatives to help tackle the issues.

PC Marvin Lucas said: “It has been invaluable to have a number of residents involved in the LAT because it has helped us to get a really clear picture from our community about what their issues are and what we can be doing to support them.”

Initiatives introduced by the LAT include increased patrols in the area, the deployment of a CCTV van and the use of a passive drugs dog. There are also plans to instal a defibrillator in the road.

The day of action, held last Thursday with a base outside Gala Bingo, marked the launch of the Rat on a Rat campaign, an initiative that encourages members of the public to report incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The campaign was devised after growing concern that fear of crime in the area was preventing residents and business owners from reporting incidents.

PC Marvin Lucas said: “We’d always encourage people to get in contact. Sometimes people feel that just because a crime has happened, it’s not important to report it.”

Police have also increased the amount of plain clothed officers in the area and through intelligence they have been able to target specific locations and people of interest.

Many businesses along Rowlands Road have now installed CCTV cameras to provide more coverage of the street. And, yellow stenciled messages are being painted on the pavements saying ‘smile, you’re on CCTV’.

Councillor Diane Guest, the owner of Sandwitch Bar, in Rowlands Road, said: “I love the stencils, it’s really important. It makes people feel safer if they know people will think twice before they commit a crime.”

Worthing mayor Vic Walker attended the event. He said: “I think it’s excellent because it diminishes fear and fear can often stop somebody getting in contact with the right people.”