Agenda item

Safer Crawley Partnership Annual Review and Forthcoming Priorities

To receive the annual performance update of the Safer Crawley Partnership along with the future priorities.


The Commission received an update from Chief Inspector Ben Starns, Public Protection & Enforcement Manager and the Community Safety Officer, together with the Head of Community Services and Councillor S Mullins on the annual performance report of the Safer Crawley Partnership along with the future priorities. During the discussion, the following points were expressed:


The purpose of the Safer Crawley Partnership was to reduce re-offending, tackle crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour, alcohol and substance misuse and any other behaviour which had a negative effect on the local community so that people in Crawley were safer and felt safer.


Statutory partners included:  WSCC, Sussex Police, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Probation Service and Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group together with other partners including OSPCC, Crawley Open House, Crawley & Gatwick Business Watch, CGL, Audio Active, CCYS and schools.


The Four priorities:

·         Serious and Organised Crime (Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking)

·         Street Community

·         Protecting Vulnerable Individuals

·         Business Crime

·         Violence Against Women & Girls


2021-2022 funding included:

·         Funding allocation from Sussex PCC - £51,362,87

·         Project funded in 2021-2022

Ø  £25,000 mobile CCTV/ANPR cameras.  Two CCTV cameras deployed in Church Walk

Ø  £10,000 Crawley & Gatwick Business Watch. Support following reduction in membership fees due to impact of COVID and lockdown, provided the BCRP manager with the opportunity to re-engage with members

Ø  £1,500 Joint Action Group. Small scale initiatives such as ‘no motor vehicle’ signage in Broadfield to tackle issue of motorbikes and quadbikes being used on footpaths causing a nuisance to local residents

Ø  £9,580 Safer Schools Event. Presentation from St Giles Trust to all Year 8 and Year 9 students on county lines, drugs, gangs and exploitation, followed by a market place of positive activity providers and supports services

Ø  £9,312 AudioActive Cyphers Schools project. Cypher/Beats and Bars sessions delivered in schools to vulnerable young people identified by teachers/pastoral care team who are at risk of exploitation or who they may have concerns about.

Ø  £50,000 Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP).  Funding for AudioActive to run the SHIFT programme targeting young people aged 11 to 18 years old, who are involved in, or at risk of being involved in antisocial behaviour, crime and or violence.


2022-2023 funding included:

Ø  Crawley Open House Outreach and Day Centre – towards staffing costs for drop-in services and for Outreach Team.

Ø  Youth Advice Centre – CSE Prevention Initiative – preventative workshops in schools for young women identified as being at risk of exploitation and 1:1 mentoring.

Ø  AudioActive  - provide music recording/production equipment and pump prime 4 additional AudioActive projects and taster sessions for 11-25 year olds.

Ø  Junior Citizens - contribution to multi-agency 2 week event for all year 6 students educating young people on ASB and increasing awareness on how to keep themselves safe on the streets and online etc.

Ø  Bike marking kits - bike marking pop up sessions to be held early 2023.


In terms of crime data, crimes with a weapon figure had increased, however this could be attributed to better reporting of offences.  Acting on intelligence received was critical and it was noted that ‘stop and search’ along with other methods had attributed to a reduction in possession with a weapon figure. It was important that these figures did not escalate to crimes with a weapon.  It was acknowledged that the public needed confidence in reporting crime as emerging issues would equate to prompt resourcing.  Public engagement and interaction needed to be productive.


The make-up of the Neighbourhood Policing Team was discussed as the PCSOs were allocated for each area with increased knowledge and being able to network with key stakeholders. 


2021-2022 Key Achievements included:

·         Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) – joined up group able to identify vulnerable individuals and groups.

·         Street Community – joint working to liaise and work with partners on a regular basis to tackle street homelessness, begging and street drinking, but also enforcement powers were used for those that unfortunately were not willing to engage due to the complexity of their needs.  Whilst figures had increased in comparison to 2021, they did not equate to 2020 levels and had remained low following the impact of ‘Everyone In’ initiative.

·         Protecting Vulnerable Individuals – There was continued awareness raising of domestic abuse and hate crime support services. Individuals susceptible to cuckooing were identified and monitored and a number of addresses had been attended and part / full closure orders had been obtained which also included arrests of criminal individuals and drugs seized. Meetings with partners ensured the scope of cases, supporting of individuals and preventative work.

·         Business Crime – There were designated PC and PCSOs for the Town Centre, which fed into the intelligence meetings which resulted in good and effective use of ASB legislation.  The increased use of the DISC app for reporting crime by business watch members had been positive.  In addition the joint working between Police and the borough Licensing was in place in relation to the night-time economy.

·         Violence against women and girls – The PCC ‘Do the right thing campaign’ campaign was regularly promoted via social media, along with StreetSafe for the public to report locations where they feel unsafe to inform police patrols. Additionally further work had been undertaken to promote the ‘Bystander to Upstander’ training which involved the skills to challenge unacceptable behaviours, including those which may have become normalised over time. It had been predominantly used to challenge attitudes towards women and girls.  Specific patrols had been instigated in relation to the night-time economy and key hotspot locations with funding had been provided by the PCC to St John Church to reinvigorate the street pastor scheme


Other Achievements:

·         Partnership working continued around tackling organised criminal groups involved in modern day human trafficking as did the work on identifying and deterring county drug lines travelling from London.

·         Awareness had continued in relation to domestic abuse, hate crime support services and digital safety. 


Challenges/Emerging Issues:

·         There was still the unwillingness of some individuals from the street community to engage with support services, which has impacted the town centre businesses.

·         It was acknowledged that the reporting of hate crime required encouragement.

·         The Violence against Women and Girls priority was unfortunately added late 2022 which had limited project opportunities.

·         Rise in number of individuals carrying knives

·         Series of robberies within town centre footprint.

·         Increase in drug related activities within the town centre and surrounding wards.


The presentation has been attached as Appendix A to these minutes.



During the discussion with Councillors, the following comments were made: 

·         Support that PCSOs had been reinstated for each area.

·         It was important to continue to report crime or possible crime, as this would aid intelligence gathering.  This message needed to be communicated as evidence would assist in more target policing.

·         Acknowledgement that the public required confidence in the reporting mechanisms.

·         It was commented that it was hoped the reduction in rough sleepers and the street community would continue, as a result of the joint partnership arrangements.

·         Recognition that recent bike thefts were a concern, and lack of CCTV was an issue.  However, funding had been sought for bike marking kits with sessions to be held early 2023.

·         Clarification was sought and obtained on the data, in particular crimes with a weapon and possession of weapons.  There was a rise in number of individuals carrying knives, but it was important that the methods used (eg stop and search) impacted the crimes with weapon marker to ensure possession did not result in use.  It was noted that the 10,656 figure indicated the total crimes including minor offences.

·         Acknowledgement that the fear of crime was impactful (particularly knife crime) and there was a need to manage any community tensions with positive, constructive engagement; Engagement Officers, PCSO relations, social media and Sussex alerts which provided crime data.

·         Recognition that the DISC reporting system for businesses had been welcomed especially for targeted shoplifting and robberies within the Town Centre footprint.

·         Clarification obtained as to the training undertaken engaging with vulnerable persons together with gang affected individuals and risk of exploitation, particularly in schools.  Whilst predominately provided within secondary schools, it was hoped this would be rolled-out within other school settings.

·         Recognition that video doorbells could prove a deterrent for criminals.  It was noted that some Neighbourhood Watch Schemes (Hillingdon, Cumbria, Portsmouth) invested in offering free or discounted video doorbell schemes and further investigation would take place for the borough.



That the update be noted with the views and actions expressed being acknowledged by officers.  The Commission’s gratitude was relayed to Chief Inspector Starns and officers for their attendance at the Commission.