TIM DREW: Sussex Police committed to working closely with Neighbourhood Watch in face of budget cuts

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

Police cutbacks will continue and more jobs will go, but no resource will be taken from response teams and the Sussex Police Broadcaster System, currently used to communicate messages to Neighbourhood Watch members, which will be replaced with a new fully functional system by November.

Addressing the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation at Lewes last Wednesday, Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith explained that Sussex Police was undergoing unprecedented change following Government budget cuts.

Because Sussex Police relies far more highly on Government funding than the Council Tax precept, it is the more vulnerable to cutbacks and will have to make savings of £56m in the next five years, having already made cuts of £50m from its £250m budget.

Sergeant and inspector roles are likely to be downsized considerably; there will also be fewer PCSOs and the Special Constable role will be evaluated so as to create better value for money.

The nature of policing will have to change, as has been reflected in the Local Policing Model introduced earlier this year, and whose design is based on rigorous demand analysis.

The model aims to deliver policing more efficiently through embracing technology and multi-agency working, reducing cost and engaging with the public in the best way possible.

In this way, the police will remain effective in the fight against crime, as was proved in the success of Operation Lincoln in Crawley this February.

Assistant Chief Constable Smith emphasised that Sussex Police and the PCC greatly value Neighbourhood Watch as an important partner, and are committed to working closely with them and its volunteer teams.

• Two Ward Neighbourhood Panel Meetings will take place on Wednesday, July 1 – for Castle Ward between 7pm and 8pm, at St Richard’s Church, Collingwood Road, and for Goring Ward between 7pm and 8.30pm, at the Worthing Leisure Centre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

• The Offington Neighbourhood Panel will meet on Thursday, July 2, between 10am and 11am at the Thomas A Becket PHS in Rectory Road.