• Polegate Town Council

    • Wealden Weekly update 10/7/20

    • Friday, 10 July 2020


      News and appeals


      New police scheme helps support domestic abuse victims in Sussex

      A new police scheme in Sussex has given extra support to more than 1400 people reporting domestic abuse.

      The 39-strong specialist unit, the Local Resolution Team, introduced in March this year, deals by appointment with any cases that are not immediately urgent, including a new video appointment service when conversations can’t take place face to face.

      Officers discuss the incident with the caller, carry out an initial investigation and provide safeguarding advice, to leave the victim feeling safer than before and can explore further investigative opportunities to prosecute those responsible for domestic abuse, advise on obtaining court orders to prevent further abuse, and also arrange access to sources of independent advice and support.

      Part of the safeguarding advice includes referrals to independent support agencies in Sussex such as Rise, Worth Services and The Portal.

      Chief Inspector Oliver Fisher of the force's Public Protection Command said; "This additional way of responding to domestic abuse, made possible by funding provided by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has been so well received by callers that it is now a permanent part of our investigation work.

      Reaction from people who have used the new service has been overwhelmingly positive. These are just some of the appreciative comments;

      "It was really thorough, a long conversation, going through questions and a discussion about what would come next":

      "I felt more comfortable and it was good to see who I was talking to":
      "The person who I spoke to was very reassuring and caring. Made me feel like I wasn’t in the wrong":

      "I felt valued as a person and it was good to talk about what was happening":
      "Reassuring me that I did the right thing. Not judging me for anything I said. By being patient and understanding throughout":

      "The officer I spoke with was lovely and I felt very able to talk freely and honestly with her. She seemed to understand my struggles and internal conflict and fears. She said she would advocate for my wishes which I appreciated".

      Oliver Fisher says; "We aim to be in touch with the caller within 12 hours of their initial contact, and the vast majority of victims are then seen, in person or online, within 48 hours of that initial contact.

      "We naturally prefer to see someone face to face in private at a police station. However, we recognised that current restrictions for people in vulnerable categories, self-isolation, or travel, meant that some would not be able attend so we have now adopted new video conferencing technology.

      "In these cases our officers obtain a safe contact number, then using very discreet and safe means, set up a video meeting with the caller”

      "Afterwards, the caller is guided through how to remove any trace of the video appointment from their device, which is disguised in the first place to hide any links with the police.

      "We have successfully used this system this to safely carry out online no less than 437 of 1440 appointments, from which further investigations can then develop. The system is now a permanent feature of our work."

      "But it is still important to be clear that wherever there's an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, call police on 999 and we will arrange an immediate response. This new approach applies only when that is not the case."

      The force has also been carrying out domestic abuse awareness publicity at local supermarkets, with high profile signage at entrances and take-away information, complementing an online campaign. Even though our social media pages are already reaching out those affected by domestic abuse, we recognise that not everyone has access to the Internet, and some may have their access controlled. 

      Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland, the force lead on Public Protection, said; "We have adapted to ensure we can support people at risk and find them a safe space. 

      "It’s really important people know that alongside these new initiatives we continue to respond to domestic abuse as normal, arresting perpetrators and protecting vulnerable people.

      "No matter what is going on around us there is no excuse for domestic abuse, it simply isn’t acceptable. The police priority hasn’t changed so if you are victim of domestic abuse I would urge you to make contact with us so that we can help."

      Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said; “It has been more important than ever that people who feel threatened and vulnerable have someone they can reach out to, who will listen and help them.

      “I’m pleased that, following the extra investment into Sussex Police this year, they have been able to put in place these innovative, ground-breaking measures to protect victims at a time when it has been incredibly difficult for them to safely reach out for help.

      “Sussex Police are really going the extra mile during this crisis to ensure that people do not feel they have to suffer in silence.”

      If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, and there's an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, call police on 999.
      If you can’t talk because the perpetrator is nearby, you can then press the numbers ‘55’ into your mobile phone which will alert the operator to your situation.

      The Sussex Safe Space website also provides a valuable directory of help and support from all agencies, available near you.

      Police warn residents about bogus HMRC callers

      Elderly and vulnerable people across Sussex are again being warned to be wary of phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be from HM Customs and Revenue (HMRC).

      The bogus callers claim the targeted person is wanted for tax evasion and is arrestable on warrant unless they pay a cash sum – sometimes up to £4,000 – to clear their ‘debt’.
      Some even address victims by name, or use a number that is often displayed as the official number of the agency they claim to represent, to add credibility to their call.Police received reports of 18 such calls in Sussex during June, although thankfully only two succeeded in getting any money – a total of £4300.

      And at the beginning of July three calls were received in the Bognor area, one of them on 2 July netting £900 by phone-arranged bank transfer. The other two were unsuccessful.
      Of the 18 people who reported calls in June, 10 live alone and seven are aged over 75. Calls were received across East and West Sussex as well as Brighton & Hove

      Genuine authorities stress that people will never be texted or telephoned by them out of the blue with requests to make payments, to log in to an online account or to disclose personal information, such as PIN numbers, passwords or bank details.

      Anyone receiving such contact is advised to hang up and report the call – preferably using a separate mobile phone or landline in case the criminals have kept the line open – to police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

      PC Bernadette Lawrie, the force’s Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer said; “This underlines the importance of never giving out private information and reporting any suspicious activity without delay.

      “We’d also ask friends or relatives of potentially vulnerable people to ensure they are fully aware and alert to the risks.”

      For further advice, please visit the Sussex Police website. 


      New recruits arrest rural burglary suspects in first week

      Three suspects were stopped and arrested following reports of a burglary in Wealden by three new officers just days into their new jobs in East Sussex.

      The recruit constables were out with their coach on June 21 on rural crime patrol when they heard three burglary suspects had made off at speed from the Chiddingly and Horam area after the homeowner had disturbed them.

      Recruit PC Alex Criddle was in a vehicle with fellow recruits Charlie Ware and James Marchant - accompanied by one of their coaches, PC Betteridge - at the start of their first night shift.

      “When the description of the vehicle and suspects came in over the radio, we were actually on a directed patrol in Wealden targeting rural burglaries and drug activity,” said Alex, a former M&S retail manager. 

      “We could tell the wanted vehicle car was in the Hailsham and Hellingly area as it was triggering ANPR cameras.

      “Having good local knowledge, I was able to plan where we could intercept the vehicle, and we got eyes on the car in Hailsham, dropping off one of the suspects - who PC Betteridge recognised. The vehicle sped off, but next time we found it, we managed to box it in. PC Ware and PC Marchant arrested the two occupants while I carried out a search.

      “I found a lock knife, so I made my first arrest for possession of an offensive weapon. I found the training just kicked in and I felt calm and confident. PC Betteridge was there to support us throughout.

      “Once other officers arrived to help get the suspects into custody, we returned to the address where the third suspect had jumped out - and I made my second arrest, on suspicion of burglary.

      “At the end of that night shift I felt very proud that we had dealt with this incident promptly and effciently, and that we'd potentially taken three burglars off the streets of Sussex." 
      The three suspects have been released under investigation.

      The new recruits are amongst sixty new Police Constable Degree Apprentices who joined the six new Dedicated Coaching Units (DCU) throughout Sussex in mid-June, having completed their initial nine weeks’ training. They're continuing their training on the streets alongside their coaches, who are experienced officers. 

      Some have joined the new DCUs in Polegate and Bexhill, where they are working with local response teams.

      East Sussex Divisional Coaching Units Sergeant, Len Fleckney, said: “I have been very impressed with the significant impact these officers have already made in their earliest days on division.

      "Having completed their initial training during the challenges of lockdown, they have really hit the ground running. As well as catching suspects, making arrests and safeguarding the vulnerable, they have been geting stuck into solving various other issues affecting the day-to-day lives of local residents in East Sussex.

      “They are one of our earliest cohorts of Police Constable Degree Apprentices to train with the force, and will work towards their degree over the next three years. The DCUs allow the recruits to take a more active role in frontline policing from day one, accompanied and guided by their dedicated coaches.

      "I am heartened by the great start they have made, and am confident they will continue making a positive difference to the people of East Sussex.”

      Fellow Eastbourne and Wealden new recruits PC Reece Simmons and PC Jeniffer Horscroft were just hours into their first shift, in June, when they and their coach were called to reports of an assault in Eastbourne.

      “I was nervous,” says Reece who served in the army before joining the police, “but once we arrived on scene, I found all the training and knowledge had sunk in. 

      “The elderly victims were distressed and after taking an initial account from them, it was clear they were vulnerable and needed protection. 

      “Once we'd located the suspect. I made the arrest for assault with the support of PC Horscroft and my coach. It was my first arrest so I was glad it went smoothly.”

      “It felt very productive,” said PC Horscroft. “Our colleagues took the man into custody, and we ensured that long term safeguarding measures were implemented in order to protect the elderly couple." 

      “I previously worked as a PCSO in Lewes – and the best part of the job was helping people, so it’s great to be able to do even more to help.”

      Reece, from Uckfield, added, “It felt great at the end of that first shift, knowing that you have made a good start in protecting and safeguarding vulnerable victims. What can be more rewarding than that?”

      “I always wanted to be a police officer but joined the army first, serving in the Royal Tank Regiment as a lance corporal for five years. On leaving, I either wanted to do a degree or join the police, so I was pretty delighted I could do them both at the same time with Sussex Police, while earning a full salary.”

      PC Alex Criddle adds, “In my previous job in retail management in Eastbourne, I did a lot of work tackling shoplifters, and worked with the police to report and deal with repeat offenders.”
      “Now I am really enjoying going out each day, getting hands-on, helping our communities.”

      After 15 – 21 weeks coached patrol in the DCUs, the recruits gain independent patrol and join community response teams, where they will continue to study for their degree in Professional Policing Practice over the remaining 2.5 years.

      Crime summary

      A burglary occurred on High Street, Hartfield on 02/07/2020 whereby a shop was broken into and charity boxes stolen from within (Ref:47200108898)

      A burglary occurred on Coldharbour Road, Hailsham, on 02/07/2020 whereby an outbuilding was broken into, fortunately no items were stolen from within (Ref: 47200109149)

      A burglary occurred on Swans Brook Lane, Heathfield, on 05/07/2020 whereby an individual has entered a property, and fortunately no items were stolen from within (Ref: 47200111050)

      A further burglary occurred on Swans Brook Lane, Heathfield, on 05/07/2020 whereby an individual has entered a property, and fortunately no items were stolen from within (47200111122)

      A burglary occurred on High Street, Pevensey, on 09/07/2020 whereby a garage was broken into and tools were stolen from within (Ref: 47200113449)

      Help us keep Sussex safe

      If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.

      Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org