Communities feel the difference after 17 extra sergeants join neighbourhood policing teams
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Sergeants Amy McAlees and Gez Neilan are two of the 17 extra new neighbourhood policing sergeants making a positive impact on local communities, tackling the issues that concern them most.
Each is providing additional leadership for our local frontline neighbourhood teams, which have been boosted in size by an extra 100 PCSOs in the last 18 months.
Sussex Police Local Policing lead, Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando said: “I am delighted that the planned uplift of a total 18 neighbourhood policing sergeants is close to completion, allowing us to further strengthen our local policing teams, following the uplift in PCSOs.
“An extra six neighbourhood policing sergeants are now established in East Sussex; nine in West Sussex, while in Brighton and Hove two have recently taken up their new roles in neighbourhood teams, with a third set to follow.
“This investment of the 2020 council-tax precept is enabling our sergeants to cover smaller geographic areas, which means their teams can integrate more closely with local communities, tackling the problems that really matter to them. It’s also allowing sergeants to be more proactive, taking on operations and activity targeting issues, such as knife crime, youth-related violence and drug-related crime, resulting in more arrests and seizures.
“Communities are already telling us they feel safer, with reduced anti-social behaviour and disorder, reported in key areas where new sergeants have targeted activity. I feel confident that, as the newer sergeants are established, more communities will experience this closer engagement and support.”
Sgt McAlees is one of three extra sergeants making a positive impact In the Arun and Chichester district. Since taking on the new role in July 2020, Amy has been able to focus on Manhood peninsula, where her team’s determination in tackling anti-social behaviour and disorder, particularly in Selsey and Bosham during lockdown, has received excellent recognition from both local councils and residents.
Sergeant Amy McAlees of the Arun and Chichester Neighbourhood Policing Team
“Bosham saw a large increase in anti-social behaviour in the summer months of 2020 during Covid restrictions,” said Sgt McAlees.
“To tackle this we targeted regular patrol activity, with both a PCSO and PC presence, and used community resolutions and fines. I also set up a local action team, made up of residents, the council, business people and others.
“The community have reported a significant decrease in anti-social behaviour and we are planning to continue this into spring and summer 2021. We have been really touched by the positive feedback we got, including nine letters of thanks from local residents.”
In Worthing the uplift has allowed the district to dedicate one of its three new neighbourhood policing sergeants, Darren Pickering, to an operation tackling youth-related violence, working in partnership with education, youth services and other agencies.
This has resulted in a number of arrests – including one offender who was recently convicted and sentenced for a double stabbing – and multiple weapons have been taken off the streets. Community behavioural orders, protection notices and other measures have also been used to address the problems, reduce offending and safeguard young people.
For the Hastings and Rother neighbourhood team the addition of two extra sergeants has resulted in more pro-active operation activity, including a multi-agency initiative to reduce drugs-harm and drug-related deaths in Hastings, and an operation led by Sgt Matt Chapman targeting cannabis factories.
Sergeant Vince Lam of the Brighton and Hove Neighbourhood Policing Team
The uplift in Brighton and Hove, has enabled Sgt Karen Osborn to drive the police response to knife crime and serious violence in the city, with hundreds of hours of targeted patrols and joint operations. By identifying and targeting the right people, this has led to 56 arrests 24 knife seizures in the last two months.
Her colleague PS Vince Lam is helping keep the city’s streets safe, leading the local team’s continued focus on the policing of the night time economy, working in partnership to reduce violent crime in public places.
Hailsham has seen a reduction in recorded and anecdotal ASB to low levels, since Sgt Gez Neilan took on the extra neighbourhood policing sergeant role in July 2020.
“I believe this is partly down to our operation tackling the issues as well as other local initiatives, which have clearly been beneficial to the community,” he said.
“The uplift has enabled me to develop a more intensive, multi-faceted and proactive approach. This has resulted in the closure of a notorious drugs den in Hailsham, which has improved the lives of numerous people in that street.
"I am proud of that and it gives me great satisfaction to start a job and see it through to the successful conclusion, knowing the real difference it has made. What I like best about neighbourhood policing is that you can make a real positive difference to people’s lives.”
PS Gez Neilan (right) with PCSO Tom Lewis in Hailsham
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne commented: “I have listened intently to public feedback on local policing and Chief Constable Shiner shares in the determination to bolster neighbourhood policing and provide the visibility residents have asked for.
“I’m so pleased that last year’s precept has funded additional leadership for these teams so that officers will be given clear direction to tackle local issues, using vital community intelligence.
“This further strengthening of our frontline I’m sure is welcome news to all residents and it’s impressive the positive impact that they have made in such a short space of time.”
Sergeant Amy McAlees pictured with team member PCSO Scott Wrein in Chichester