An update from our Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne OBE:

As our second week of ‘lockdown’ comes to a close, I would like to thank you all for how you have adapted to this crisis and for the sacrifices you have made so far. By staying at home we are making a difference to the NHS and to all other emergency services. I know that they are just as grateful to us for this as we are to them for their valiant efforts.

Today I chaired a meeting with Chief Constable Giles York and all our Sussex MPs to update them on the local policing approach to Covid-19.

The message from the Chief Constable has always been that the new policing powers will only be used as a last resort. They will instead try to engage, explain and educate people.

This approach has worked so far, with only a small handful of fixed penalty notices being issued and our MPs today universally praised the way officers have handled this crisis so far.

However, as we begin the first weekend of the Easter Holidays and with the weather set to improve, people may think about getting in their cars and heading for beauty spots and beaches across Sussex.

Please do not do this. You would be making our county more vulnerable to this virus and putting unnecessary strain on our police force at a time when we want them out catching criminals. 

It is important to remember at this time that, whilst our police officers are having to provide support to protect the capacity of the NHS, they are still committed to protecting our communities because criminals are not staying at home. 

The force’s business crime lead says that commercial premises across the county – particularly those closed due to the ‘lockdown’ – have fallen victim to a number of burglaries. So, officers are stepping up patrols to increase visibility and deter criminals.

Across Arun and Lewes districts some strong police work has resulted in several arrests being made in relation to burglaries of local businesses there.

Also, after a school in East Sussex was broken into, police officers, working closely with other colleagues in the town, were soon able to gather evidence culminating in several arrests. 

Quick, effective policing work is still happening across Sussex amidst this crisis. The police will still be there for us when we need them most so let’s do our bit to help them and all our other emergency frontline workers by continuing to stay at home.