Hastings Observer Column - 30 August

Speaking to residents in our towns, I know that street drinking and anti-social behaviour are some of the most visible concerns which people have. In July, I joined representatives from Sussex Police to meet with business owners in Hastings who were being affected by anti-social behaviour resulting from street drinking. I was encouraged to hear from the businesses that they felt progress had been made on tackling disruptions from street drinking.

It is essential that we do not let the poor behaviour of a few individuals affect the businesses and hardworking people in our town. Due to the police’s target approach to combating street drinking, anti-social behaviour in the town has reduced, although more work can be done to eradicate this issue further. I am keen to see more support provided to assist and educate the street drinkers in our town, so we may address the root causes of this issue.

I am determined to work with the affected businesses and Hastings Borough Council to raise this issue higher on the local policing agenda and work with the council and local organisations to increase rehabilitative support. I have been reporting my findings directly to the police and I am confident we can all work together to ensure further progress is made.

I know the Government understands that demands on police are changing and becoming increasingly complex. So, I am delighted that the Government has published a funding settlement that means total police funding will increase by up to £970 million in 2019/20. Furthermore, that there will be an extra 20,000 police officers on our streets. These additional officers will be welcome in our towns, but it is important that we have a strategy to ensure they are deployed effectively.

I will be calling a summit in September discuss progress on this matter and how we can provide a long-term solution to it. I am optimistic having seen the progress already made that we can get to the core of anti-social behaviour and address it conclusively.