TIM DREW: Demand on officers must be reduced

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

The recent call by the Chief Constable of Norfolk, Simon Bailey, not to prosecute paedophiles who view indecent images unless they pose a physical threat to children has been described as “appalling” in one national journal.

Sadly, it probably amounts to no more than a pragmatic proposal in the face of ongoing police budget cuts and a type of crime where rapid advances in technology have resulted in significant challenges.

The extent of these was put into perspective at Worthing NHW Association’s AGM last year, when PCC Katy Bourne quoted the case of a paedophile whose computer contained a million images.

Each of these constituted a different crime scene and the police had to look at all of them – a task which would have taken years to accomplish.

80 per cent of the Sussex Police budget is spent on pay and people, and Neighbourhood Policing will have to make £29million of savings by 2020.

In order to achieve that, and for the police to continue to be able to offer an emergency service, demand on police officers must be reduced.

Mr Bailey said that, although police were arresting over 400 men every month for viewing indecent images of children, this was just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and that a new approach was needed.

Meanwhile, according to a new poll conducted through the PCC’s website ahead of her first Crime Summit this year on March 23, almost half of Sussex residents aged 65 or older, or their relatives or friends, have been targeted by fraudsters.

A total of 248, or 47 per cent, voted ‘Yes’ while 264, or 50 per cent, voted ‘No’.

The Crime Summit is the first meeting as part of the PPC’s new Listen Live programme which will be held at Brighton’s Jubilee Library and hosted by BBC Sussex.

The Tarring & Gaisford Community Forum meets at West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring, on Tuesday (March 14), at 7pm.

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