Following my column on 30 August about street drinking and anti-social behaviour, I am pleased to say there has been some real progress helping fight crime. Last Friday I convened a Public Safety Summit attended by Hastings Police, several Hastings Borough Councillors, Council Officers, and a representative from the Business Improvement District (BID).
The outcomes were that I promised to look into the local provision of rehabilitation beds for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse to avoid people having to go to London for this purpose, whilst the Police agreed to be more pro-active in monitoring anti-social behaviour hot spots in the town centre, and noted that their newly refurbished custody centre which I helped secure would be helpful.
In addition, the Council asked for increased co-operation from the Police for the Council’s CCTV monitoring operation on anti-social behaviour. In conclusion it was agreed that good policing combined with local intelligence would provide the most effective results in reducing anti-social behaviour.
Subsequently on Saturday I met Chief Inspector Sarah Godley, who updated me with the encouraging news that burglaries in Hastings have reduced by 15.9 per cent over the past year, whilst thefts from vehicles had declined by an impressive 29 per cent, and similar rates of reduction have also occurred in Rother.
Chief Inspector Godley commented that so far as drug dealing is concerned, most of it arises from County Lines. I am determined that the the police now have the resources and support they need to help address this issue. We need to have all of our local organisations talking to each other to ensure the most vulnerable in our towns are not exploited, which then leads to further crime. I will be helping spearhead a joined-up approach to address these issues in our towns, and ensure we are all working together to address anti-social behaviour and other crime.
On a more encouraging note, the precept uplift from last year paid for the first wave of new recruits, which will soon be followed by another layer and Hastings is shortly to have 100 more Police Support Community Officers. It is important that our police have the funds they need to address local crime, but it is just as important that the community works together to address the sources of these crimes.
Following the success of my last meeting, I will be receiving regular updates from the police, council, and local residents to ensure we are effectively dealing with street drinking and anti-social behaviour.