Sergeant responds to crime issues in town

Residents and councillors at the meeting on Thursday (October 26)
Residents and councillors at the meeting on Thursday (October 26)

Burgess Hill residents were given reassurance last Thursday about how crime will be tackled in the town.

Anti-social behaviour, drugs and speeding were the main issues discussed at the Neighbourhood Police Panel meeting, held at the Sidney West Centre in Leylands Road.

Police Sergeant Allan Philip said he and other officers were ‘aware’ of the issues and urged residents to continue to report the acts of crime.

“We just need all the calls to come in,” he said.

“There are many incidents of drugs and anti-social behaviour at the moment and I can understand the anger with this.

“What we can do now is drug test drivers at the road side. Police have a power to stop a vehicle regardless but what we do need however is grounds to suspect drugs and drink.”

Residents expressed their anger at speeding and ‘boy racers’.

Sgt Philip said the issues will be met with ‘zero tolerance’ and he and other PCSOs were going to be trained up on using a hand-held speed gun.

“As soon as I get my training done I can really get onto this,” he said.

“I will stand at that roadside to make sure these people are caught.”

Residents complained of anti-social driving in Tesco car park and Cyprus Road Car Park.

“The cars all get together, it is horrendous – people are obviously really annoyed about this,” said a resident.

Sgt Philip said he was ‘aware’ of the issue and people can report it on the Operation Crackdown website.

“The problem does go on but with all this extra information we can target it better and we can take people’s licences away,” he added.

Other issues raised at the meeting were road traffic collisions, drink-driving, thefts, and ‘loud’ car exhausts.

“We have had a number of shoplifting incidents at numerous businesses in the area,” said Sgt Philip.

“The businesses have employed the services of security guards who act as an extra deterrent for criminals and an extra pair of eyes that can help police in identifying offenders.

“Where businesses do not have up to date security, we are in a position to advise.

“We also now have security at the old gasholder site, after receiving reports of kids getting into the site.

“And we have been to some pubs recently after getting some intelligence over drugs.

“We did some testing and two staff members have lost their jobs.”

A Dumbrills Close resident asked Sgt Philip how ‘loud parties’ will be tackled in the town.

“Next door had a party the other day and it was so loud, but I couldn’t get through to the police on 101,” she said.

Sgt Philip replied: “We do have powers in dealing with breach of the peace if a party was to get out of hand.

“If it is loud music on a regular basis the matter can be reported to the Enviromental Health.

“Perhaps we should have housing and a representative from Environmental Health at these meetings so we can work together as a community.”

The meeting was attended by Pru Moore, leader of Burgess Hill Town Council and councillor Anne Jones.