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Police numbers divide PCC candidates

Police numbers – are they up or down? – are a leading source of disagreement among candidates for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. Nick Terdre offers a brief guide.

Katy Bourne

Tory candidate Katy Bourne has been the incumbent Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex since this elected role was first introduced in 2012. In her manifesto she says: “Having served as Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner since 2012, I have the experience and proven track record to continue making a difference to policing our county.

Among her achievements she lists, “The biggest rise in police officer numbers with more now than when I was re-elected in 2016.”

Kahina Bouhassane

However the Green Party candidate, Kahina Bouhassane, claims that the number of police officers serving in Sussex is now 3% lower than in 2012. Citing Office of National Statistics data she says that by the end of Bourne’s first term in 2016, 230 less officers were serving, while in 2018 “police officer numbers plunged by 12%” to “their lowest figure in a decade.” They have only risen modestly since then, she says.

Jamie Bennett

Jamie Bennett, the Liberal Democrat candidate, says, “We have seen the Police’s share of our Council Tax bills rocket, yet we have nothing to show for our money but rising crime, more drugs and fewer police on our streets.

“As a Lib Dem councillor in Arun, I have seen at first hand the impact of withdrawing community policing and increasing lawlessness on our streets.”

In Hastings council tax bills have gone up this April by an overall 3.6%, but the police precept is up 7.5%.

Paul Richards

Meanwhile the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate, Paul Richards, says, “Violent crime in Sussex has risen under the Tories. Since 2010 we’ve seen police stations close and fewer police on the streets. It is nearly ten years since the Tory PCC was elected in Sussex, and local people tell me it is time for a change.

“As Sussex PCC I will fight for swift justice for survivors of crime, more police, special constables and community support officers in local neighbourhood teams, and tougher action on violent crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Roy Williams

Only the independent candidate, Roy Williams, does not allude to numbers. A retired Metropolitan police inspector, he says he is “concerned of late at the nature and style of policing being delivered by all police forces and will seek to bring some common sense, integrity and proportionality back if elected,” and “clarity to what should be policing priorities and in which areas police should perhaps be acting in more of an advisory capacity.”

He does not believe for example, that the police should be used as “the enforcement arm of the NHS.” He says he is an “English Constitutionalist standing for the people’s inalienable fundamental constitutional rights: The right to free assembly and free speech, the right to earn a living and the right to adequately protect oneself and one’s property without interference from the State.”



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Posted 20:11 Wednesday, May 5, 2021 In: Politics

1 Comment

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  1. DAR

    Paragraph 4 – “230 less officers”. Tut! Tut! It should be “fewer”, not “less”.
    “Fewer” refers to numbers (“officers” in this case). “Less” applies to an amount. Examples: “fewer cars”/”less traffic”. I try not to be pedantic, but this one (and “impacted” for “affected”) really grate on my sensibilities.

    Comment by DAR — Monday, May 10, 2021 @ 11:53

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