Our community is home to many fantastic places to socialise; from bustling bars to unique pubs with fantastic character, there is certainly no shortage of places for people to enjoy themselves after a day at work. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that alcohol can be abused, which can lead to lawlessness and anti-social behaviour. The St Leonards area has been experiencing anti-social behaviour intermittently, and it is important that we stand up and recognise that this behaviour is unacceptable.
Damages to both public and private property end up costing Hastings Borough Council several hundreds of thousands of pounds, which end up costing local residents more on our council tax bills. Not only are such damages costly, they are also unsightly and degrade the appearance of our town for our residents and for those who come here to visit. Our police here in Hastings do fantastic work, and I was delighted to see that the increase in crime in our towns has dropped by 14% since last year. This means we are below Crawley for recorded crime in Sussex for the first time in four years – an excellent achievement by our police forces under Chief Inspector Steve Curry and Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
Looking back to the issue of anti-social behaviour locally, it is clear that we must target the underlying causes and work towards preventing more serious crimes from occurring. In March 2014, I organised the first of several multi-agency meetings to try and address this serious issue. This led to a discussion between Katy Bourne, members from Hastings Borough Council, local councillors, as well as local businesses and residents where many useful suggestions were agreed such as a Police Hub in central St Leonards. This hub was later opened by myself and Katy Bourne on the 25th of September 2015.
Since then, we have seen the number of anti-social behaviour incidents decline by over 20%, but recently there has been an alarming spike and increase in complaints from residents in the St Leonards and Old Town areas. Accordingly, I am once again holding a multi-agency meeting on anti-social behaviour on the 14th of September. I encourage all local businesses and residents who have been victims of anti-social behaviour to take part in this meeting as we come up with ideas on how we can improve the areas we live in.
Amber Rudd MP
Hastings and Rye