A new team that works with police and partners to help keep people safe while on a night out is launching in Eastbourne.
The Night Safety Marshals will head out on their first shift in the town centre today (Friday, 26 January) with the aim of providing an additional visible presence and responding quickly to emerging issues.
Employed by Brighton-based company Pagoda Security, the marshals have been highly-trained in identifying and helping vulnerable people, and will provide an extra level of support on top of the extensive work already being done by Sussex Police and partner agencies to keep people safe during the night-time economy.
Inspector Sarah Taylor, of the Eastbourne Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Protecting our community from violence and crime, particularly during the night-time economy, is a key priority for police. Everybody has the right to enjoy a night out and Eastbourne is, and will continue to be, a safe place to do this.
“We already have a range of measures in place to support this work, including dedicated cars and targeted patrols under our Project WAVE (Wellbeing and Vulnerability Engagement) initiative, and close partnership working with licensed premises to promote other safety schemes such as Ask for Angela.
“The Night Safety Marshals are a very welcome addition to our town centre and will further support our work to protect vulnerable people and catch offenders.”
Following the success of the marshals in Brighton and Crawley, funding to expand the initiative was secured by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, via the Safer Streets Fund, which is funding allocated to deal with neighbourhood crime, violence against women and girls, and anti-social behaviour.
From 8pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, the marshals will patrol areas of Eastbourne town centre, providing support to police and key partners such as Street Pastors, Security Industry Authority (SIA) door staff at licensed premises, and members of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP).
Their advanced vulnerability training means they are able to identify and respond to those in need swiftly and effectively, signposting to support services where required or escalating to police. The marshals will also have direct radio links to police, ensuring officers are aware of incidents as soon as possible.
Lee Craig, Managing Director at Pagoda Security, said: “Following the truly incredible successes of both Brighton and Crawley Night Safety Marshals over the last 12-18 months, we're excited to see this launched in Eastbourne.
“There have been so many positive engagements and success stories due to their presence, engagement, and interventions that we have no doubt Eastbourne and its night-time economy will benefit from this additional layer of safety and crime prevention.
“We're delighted to be supporting the community and businesses alongside Sussex Police and partners to make the night-time economy safer and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Adam Godden, Neighbourhood First Specialist Advisor, said: "The addition of Night Safety Marshals will enhance the NightWatch scheme, working with members and partners to make the town feel safer place by protecting vulnerable people and preventing them from being victims of crime.
"The marshals will complement the work the Street Pastors do and schemes such as Best Bar None, bringing businesses together to work together to promote the town in a positive light."
If you or someone you know are a victim of crime or need assistance on a night out, speak to a police officer, bar staff or Night Safety Marshal, or call 999 in an emergency.