Chief Constable appeals for good sense at Christmas
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Violent incidents in Sussex on Friday (20 December), including many with large groups of people fighting, have prompted Chief Constable Giles York to appeal to those celebrating Christmas to keep its spirit and to be aware that if they choose to break the law they will face the consequences.
He said: “Drunken groups or individuals threatening or assaulting my officers will face the consequences of the law, particularly so because my officers are working long hours, away from their own families, to ensure people have a peaceful and pleasant Christmas.
"Having to deploy officers to deal with those who cannot behave in a sensible manner, or who for whatever reason think it is acceptable to put police officers at risk or to abuse the 999 system, is unacceptable.
"I want offenders to know they will be found and arrested, and can then expect to face the consequences of their actions. More than 70 people from across Sussex woke up in one of our police cells this morning."
Speaking on Saturday (21 December), Mr York's comments came after a 24-hour period in which Sussex Police responded to more than 950 emergency calls to 999 and 900 to the non-emergency 101 system. This included 575 emergency calls in just 12 hours from 4pm on Friday.
Significant incidents included police having to jump clear as a suspect in Bognor Regis tried to drive away from assaulting a man (he was pursued and arrested), some 20 people attacked by a man wielding a crowbar during an early morning brawl in Bexhill-on-Sea and a man suffering significant facial injuries after being assaulted by a group in Brighton.
In addition, 45 hoax calls were received during the period, diverting officers away from genuine emergencies, and on several occasions control room staff were verbally abused by callers.
Pressure on the police has been exacerbated by road users facing challenging weather conditions on flooded roads, leading to collisions and other situations which officers have then had to deal with in addition to responding to routine calls.
Mr York said: "So many people are out and enjoying themselves across Sussex. I know it is the criminal few who are acting in selfish, dangerous or irresponsible ways, and they will be held to account. Please show respect and support for my officers who are working hard to keep you safe."