Current major challenges, the need for police visibility and the embedding of the new neighbourhood policing model all featured in an address to the Central Neighbourhood Panel by Miles Ockwell, police commander for Adur, Worthing and Horsham, at the Ardington Hotel.
Commander Ockwell, who began his career with the Metropolitan Police (spent mostly as a detective investigating organised crime) said that the biggest threat at the moment is ‘country-line’ drug dealing, which involves dealers who are sent by London-based organised gangs and travel by train to outlying areas.
Many of these dealers are young and vulnerable, and controlled by the gangs.
Sometimes, in a tactic known as ‘cuckooing’, they exploit customers by using their homes as a base for drug dealing. Work is being done to combat this in conjunction with Operation Trident and two significant arrests have recently been made in Montague Place.
Priorities had been fundamentally reviewed and the new neighbourhood prevention teams are now in place with all posts filled, although numbers were down on what could be desired.
The prevention team consists of prevention officers and PCSOs, who are experienced with a good knowledge of local people, and is supported by the prevention enforcement team.
Within this structure are the prevention youth officers who work within schools, and also with young people outside school, with sexual exploitation and drug taking being among the main issues.
The police recognise that the public wants them to be visible, as should indeed be the case because it is an effective method of collecting information. A plan is therefore being developed in order to change the nature of patrolling, which will apply to both the prevention officers and PCSOs.
Councillors Paul Westover and Roger Oakley advocated the use of apps to enable a variety of low-level crimes to be reported.
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