Council watchdog to quiz police chiefs

Worthing Town Hall
Worthing Town Hall

Police chiefs will be grilled on operational issues by councillors from Adur and Worthing – and the public are invited to have their say.

Following concerns around response times and antisocial behaviour, Adur and Worthing Councils’ Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee requested that the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and the local district commander answer questions on a range of topics.

Despite Ms Bourne now being unavailable due to other commitments, Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, Adur and Worthing district police commander, will take questions from the panel of councillors.

Members of the public are invited to submit their questions by Tuesday (February 13) ahead of the open meeting on Thursday (February 15), which will take place from 6.30pm in the Gordon Room of Worthing Town Hall.

Councillor Stephen Chipp, Adur District Council’s joint chairman of the committee, said: “Local policing is an area of concern for all of our communities.

“While we are disappointed Mrs Bourne can no longer attend, we want to thank Chief Inspector Ockwell for being available and hope he can shed some light on some of the major concerns that councillors and members of the public have on this issue.”

Councillor Roy Barraclough, Worthing Borough Council’s joint chairman of the committee, said: “Although not a decision making body, the joint overview and scrutiny committee is the watchdog of Adur and Worthing.

“It has enormous potential to influence and inform decisions made by both the councils and organisations connected with the areas.

“I hope as many members of the public as possible can attend this session and help us find answers to concerns over this crucial area of public service.”

The committee made the request to examine local policing after a number of concerns raised by local councillors.

These include:

A heavy reliance on PCSO’s;

Claims there are very few ‘police on the beat’ and not many were in cars due to a lack of resourcing;

Claims the public were waiting 45 minutes to get a reply to 101 and there were delays in the 999 response;

Claims it was taking over 24 hours to get a reply from the online reporting service;

Claims that follow ups were often non-existent;

issues with drug dealing being reported but no action taken and issues with homeless/rough sleepers causing disturbances in Lancing.

To submit a question, members of the public are asked to email by 6.30pm on Tuesday February 13.