£15m police boost to fight soaring crime in Worthing

Police commissioner Katy Bourne has promised �15million funding
Police commissioner Katy Bourne has promised �15million funding

The police commissioner has announced £15million extra funding after the Herald revealed rates of violent crime and robbery in Worthing are far higher than the rest of the country.

Violent offences in the area have soared by 70 per cent in the last five years, and increased 13.32 per cent on last year (April to March), according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I recognise Sussex Police has seen an increase in demand in recent months and I know that officers are carrying high workloads.

“These recorded crime figures need to be seen in the context of the overall nine per cent year-on-year decline in crime indicated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which shows the number of crimes experienced by the general public, including those not reported to the police.

“However, I am concerned about the increase in sexual offences reported to the police.”

The total crime rate for Worthing was higher than the average for England and Wales (a difference of 21.11 per cent), as was every crime category measured.

Rates of robbery in Worthing shot up by nearly a quarter – 24.79 per cent – last year, and by almost the same amount over the last five.

The rate of robbery in Worthing in 2016-2017 was 20 per cent above the national average.

The numbers also reveal a sharp jump in reported sex offences over the last five years, with a rate increase of 132 per cent.

Last year saw 2.82 sexual offences reported per 1,000 people, according to the statistics.

Again, this figure is higher than the national average, a difference of 36.12 per cent.

Mrs Bourne has now pledged to put more money into fighting crime in Sussex in light of the figures. “I want to help Sussex Police explore and identify all opportunities for investment,” she said.

“I have carried out a review of money Sussex Police holds in its reserves and released £15million to reduce the impact of reductions in police officer numbers.”

East Worthing & Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said the statistics were ‘disappointing’ and he would monitor them going forward. He pledged to work with Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley and local councils to reduce total crime.

But he said: “I want to thank the police and the emergency services not only for their dedication, but for all the amazing work they do in difficult circumstances.”