District Dispatch - 19 April 2022
Making sure our residents feel safe is a top priority for the council and its partners.
Although the district is a safe place, all areas experience issues of crime and disorder to some extent and so we all need to take proactive steps to ensure our area continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit. This is why we have a Community Safety Partnership, which closely monitors crime rates, anti-social behaviour issues and community tensions, so that we can quickly provide a multi-agency response and put solutions in place.
Our partners include Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Fire and Rescue, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Western Sussex Primary Care Trust, West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team, and Sussex and Surrey Probation Service. Collectively, we deliver projects that aim to make a positive difference within our communities. One example of this is the introduction of a mobile support unit, which has been introduced to make women feel safer at night. This is operating in Chichester City centre two nights a week between the hours of 10pm and 2am.
The unit consists of security officers who are trained in welfare and safeguarding. They have been offering reassurance; helping all those members of the public, including students, who are in distress because they have lost their friends or are under the influence of alcohol; and, helping to disperse any groups that potentially could cause problems in the city centre. The security officers are linked to the night-time economy businesses in the city centre and the police through the ChiBAC radio scheme. ChiBAC is a radio system that links businesses together, along with CCTV, the Police and our Community Wardens — providing invaluable information and support. You may remember that the leader of the council mentioned the Mobile Support Unit in this column back in November and I'm pleased to say that due to its success the partnership has managed to identify funding to potentially continue with the scheme.
We've also been engaging with local restaurants and bars to encourage them to take steps that will help prevent people spiking drinks and the signs to look out for. In addition, we have trained the Students' Union staff on sexual harassment so that staff are able to spot the signs and know what action to take if they feel someone is at risk.
We've also seen an increase in graffiti in the city recently. We have been removing this as quickly as possible and are currently looking at funding options to ensure this can continue. I know that this is something that people feel very strongly about and so we are hoping that this will make a real difference to both the look and feel of the city, as well as making people feel safe.
The partnership also attends community events, so that we can talk to you directly and find out about any community safety issues you may be concerned about. The most recent one was at the Big Swanfield Event, which offered free health and wellbeing activities to the local community.
Collectively, we are working on a plan that identifies our priorities over the coming year. This includes looking at actions that will tackle anti-social behaviour; rural crime; serious violence; cybercrime; safeguarding and tackling crimes such as vehicle crime and shoplifting.
If you have any concerns that you wish to raise, please do get in touch with our Community Safety Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find out more about our work at: Community safety and crime.
Cllr Roy Briscoe
Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council