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Crimes of Violence: Sussex

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce levels of violent crime in Sussex police authority area. (141828)

The Government are currently taking forward a wide range of work which will continue to reduce violent crime. We have, for example, recently passed the Violent Crime Reduction Act, which gives the police and local communities the powers they need to tackle guns, knives and alcohol-related violence.

There are currently a number of violent crime operations being taken forward in Sussex, including: Operation Jardon, tackling football-related crime, and based on experience from the 2004 Euro Championship—penalties are used for anyone drunk and behaving in an antisocial manner, and for licensees serving alcohol to drunk and underage customers; and Operation Columbus, designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visiting international language students. Across East and West Sussex, a range of activities have been implemented in support of District Plans, such as CCTV in taxis in Eastbourne. Specifically in Brighton, a number of successful projects, including the Safe Haven project, have been taken forward in conjunction with the Centre for Public Innovation. Brighton hopes to repeat this particular experience this summer.

Domestic violence is also a priority. The WORTH project provides immediate support to people experiencing domestic violence. Hospital staff in A&E and midwifery are fully trained, and a team of fully trained caseworkers respond immediately to victims needing help. An Individual Support Programme for children (WISP) has also been successfully introduced. A pilot project is also under way, introducing a “routine enquiry” process about DV to GP surgeries and sexual health clinics. Work to introduce specialist domestic violence courts in Sussex continues. And Sussex police are currently seeking to bring the National Centre for Domestic Violence charity to Sussex. This charity works to deliver, on a next-day basis, the protection of civil orders to victims of domestic violence without any charge to the service or the victim.

Sussex police have been engaging with other partner agencies in introducing updated child protection and safeguarding procedures for Sussex. They are working with the East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove city council local Safeguarding Children Boards, which provide information, advice and guidance for all professionals working in child protection. East Sussex is also one of the eight pilot counties for the development of Child Death Review Panels.

Neighbourhood policing across Sussex is continuing to develop, and practitioners are working up increasingly sophisticated strategies to engage with, and meet the needs of, local communities. Problem-solving with partners is becoming further established, with good use being made of analytical products to identify crime and incident hotspots. And improving community consultation is enabling neighbourhood specialist teams to tackle the problems of most concern to communities.