This week, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioners joined a socially-distanced attestation ceremony to welcome 64 new officers to Sussex Police as they swore their oaths watched on video link by their families and friends. Katy Bourne OBE takes up the story ...
I wanted to pay special tribute to the officers and staff responsible for training, who have put innovative measures in place to comply with public health guidelines throughout the recruitment process. They have adjusted the training schedule and programmes to ensure our new recruits can still develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective warranted officer.
More visible, proactive policing is what local residents want to see and we are delivering on that with these extra boots on the ground. I look forward to seeing them in action very soon.
Today we returned to holding webcast Performance and Accountability Meetings with the Temporary Chief Constable,(T/CC) Jo Shiner- who is my recommended successor to Chief Constable Giles York who retires in three weeks - and Temporary Deputy Julia Chapman.
T/CC Shiner said that throughout the period of lockdown the force had still been tackling criminals and preventing crime. County lines gangs had been disrupted and one operation alone in Worthing recovered over £100k in cash and large quantities of suspected drugs.
T/CC Shiner also said the force were now attending call-outs to break-ins of commercial premises, and stepping up prevention advice to those business that are empty or under-used due to lockdown. She said the Roads Policing Unit was cracking down on dangerous, reckless and anti-social drivers, with the arrests of two people suspected of posting themselves on social media driving at over 200mph on the A23 which T/CC Shiner described as “abhorrent behaviour”.
T/DCC Julia Chapman said the force was grateful to the organisers of recent protests in Sussex following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and described how the force listened to their independent advisory groups to ensure that people had the opportunity to make their voices heard peacefully whilst the policing approach protected and reassured local communities as well.
T/DCC Chapman said the 12% increase in Stop and Search over last year was a reflection on officers’ confidence to use it as an effective tool if deployed on good grounds and proportionately. Scrutiny of stop and searches is regularly carried out by supervisors, and oversight comes from the force Legitimacy and Ethics Board and an independent External Panel. The apparent disproportionality of searches across different ethnic groups was a continuing concern for all UK forces and where it can’t be explained it needs to be reviewed and changed.
I was pleased to hear that the health and well being of officers and staff was a continuing top priority for the senior team from ensuring adequate supplies of PPE to setting up advice and support services for staff who may have to self isolate. With only 3% of officers off sick and 2.65% of staff, T/CC Jo Shiner expressed her immense pride that the force was determined to keep Sussex safe, which was also demonstrated by the continued improvements in 101 waiting times which averaged around three minutes with 50% reduction in abandoned calls.
The next PAM will be on 31st July when two main topics will be policing challenges as lockdown lifts and data integrity and cyber-security.