Police present problem-solving award for work with youths at risk of crime at national conference
PC Emily Dudley, Josephine Wickens (ESCC), Insp Kara Tombling and PC Sarah Poplett at the event this week
Police in Sussex presented their award-winning approach for engaging with youths involved with, or at risk of, crime at the National Problem Solving Conference this week.
Operation Asteroid, the Wealden Neighbourhood Policing team’s response to anti-social behaviour in Uckfield, was announced as the winner of the Neighbourhoods category of the 2020/21 Tilley Awards in February this year.
The operation centred around a community-wide assessment carried out by East Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services team, which identified issues and explored ways in which partners in the community could play a role in addressing them.
The team behind the initiative presented their approach at the event in Burton-on-Trent on Tuesday, September 28.
T/Inspector Kara Tombling said: “It has been an amazing opportunity and privilege to work with our partners within East Sussex Social Services and other stakeholders to understand and support the young children involved in this project, diverting them away from crime and preventing them from becoming vulnerable individuals in the community, and making the community a safer place for all.
“It was a privilege to be able to share this fantastic work with our colleagues around the country to showcase everyone’s hard work and dedication and hope other young children across the United Kingdom can benefit from this approach.”
The Contextual Safeguarding Assessment (CSA), carried out in May 2020, followed collaboration over a number of years between police, the county council, town council and Chamber of Commerce, among others, which resulted in a venue and funding being secured to re-open an Uckfield Youth Club in April 2019.
While that work addressed some of the issues in the Uckfield area, there remained continuing challenges with a small number of young people.
Using the information gathered from the CSA, police and the county council identified a group of young people involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, and potentially at risk of criminal exploitation. This cohort of young people were then subject of several months of focused engagement by police officers and youth workers.
Police Constables Emily Dudley and Sarah Poplett, from the Wealden Neighbourhood Policing Team, were assigned to the operation to ensure this work was conducted in a consistent way and to help build rapport with the young people. They carried out regular visits, sometimes in partnership with key workers from Children’s Services, to establish ways the police could assist in reducing the young person’s involvement in crime or anti-social behaviour.
Since May 2020, there has been a significant drop in offending by the young people involved in Operation Asteroid and a noticeable reduction in anti-social behaviour in some of the hot-spot areas within Uckfield.
New cohort of officers join Sussex Police
Seventy-two new recruit constables have taken their first steps in policing this week.
The new recruits were formally sworn in as police officers on Tuesday (28 September) at an attestation ceremony. The new police officers join as the force opens for recruitment once again.
Fifty-four of the new recruits have joined through the three year Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) and 18 have joined through the two-year Detective Constable Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). The new officers will spend nine weeks training at the county police HQ in Lewes before joining dedicated coaching units in police stations countywide.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “Welcoming new recruits into our policing family is always a highlight for us. Read more here
Rebuilding trust following the murder of Sarah Everard - Sussex Police response
Following the whole life sentence for the murder of Sarah Everard of ex-police officer Wayne Couzens, Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, Lead for Local Policing, said the following:
"We have all been left shocked and disturbed by the actions of ex-police officer Wayne Couzens.
"First and foremost, our thoughts remain with the courageous family of Sarah Everard, whose happy life has so tragically been cut short.
"Couzens is a vile criminal and his actions horrific. He does not reflect the values of the police service, nor the majority of police officers and staff, who dedicate their lives to helping and protecting the public, including women and girls.
"However, we absolutely recognise and accept that the details of this case will have a profound impact on public trust and confidence in the police, particularly with women.
"We are committed to rebuilding trust with those affected in our communities and will continue to improve our services, working with partners, to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls and to target the perpetrators.
"We have a strong partnership of agencies and charities in Sussex working together on this and to address the root causes of gender inequality, which cannot be addressed by police alone. Read more here
New advice to air weapon owners about appropriate use
Police are reminding the owners of air weapons to remember the laws surrounding their appropriate use.
Officers have responded to incidents in which people in possession of air weapons have caused concern for members of the public, prompting a higher volume of emergency 999 calls.
Incidents can lead to specialist officers being asked to attend, preventing them attending a genuine emergency where they are needed to protect the public in life-threatening situations.
According to the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, there are more than six million air rifles in England and Wales.
The vast majority are used safely and responsibly, but inappropriate use can cause serious injuries or death.
Sussex Police is reminding those who own air weapons to know the legislation in order to prevent harm and to prevent wasting vital time for officers needing to deal with critical incidents.
Any air weapon that has a muzzle velocity greater than 12 foot-pounds may only be held on a firearm certificate issued by the police.
Parents and guardians are reminded that it is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or hire an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon, and there are specific laws which require supervision regarding persons under 18 carrying or using air weapons.
It is an offence for any person to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises and it is also an offence to have an air weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse.
You also commit an offence if you trespass with an air weapon, have an air weapon with intent to damage or destroy property, or have an air weapon with intent to endanger life.
When using an air weapon always know where the muzzle of the weapon is pointing and NEVER point it in an unsafe direction. You must also make sure you have a safe backdrop.
There have been occasions recently where inappropriate carriage and use of air weapons has been witnessed by members of the public.
This can, understandably cause fear and alarm.
For example, residents in Hastings recently reported hearing shots fired by an air rifle from a window. A man was arrested and interviewed and accepted a police caution for the matter.
So owners are also advised to keep air weapons with bright colours, so they are not confused for firearms by members of the public.
Reducing the number of calls about air weapons being used inappropriately will help officers to respond to the most urgent situations and help keep our communities safe.
For more guidance, the Home Office have produced a document: Air Weapons-A Brief Guide to Safety
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