‘There is lots you can do’ to help tackle crime in Mid Sussex

Policing has changed in Mid Sussex with officers now having to deal with complex crimes, but the community can do a lot to help – that was the message from Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and Inspector Pete Dommett.

Speaking exclusively to the Middy, the pair revealed what crimes officers are now being faced with in the district.

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and Inspector Pete Dommett outside Haywards Heath Police Station

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and Inspector Pete Dommett outside Haywards Heath Police Station

Chf Insp Ross is in her second year as District Commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex. She said: “Policing has changed, the crimes have changed, they are more complex now.

“We need to ensure that the community understands what changes we are facing now, and how they can help by communicating any issues they have with us.”

Complex crimes such as child sex offences, domestic abuse, county lines drug gangs and fraud are some of the crimes being tackled every day by officers, Chf Insp Ross said. Knife crime is too a priority.

But community intelligence comes with tackling these crimes, Chf Insp Ross said.

My heart lies in prevention. To me, Mid Sussex is a safe place to live – there is a really good community spirit here and it is about building on that.

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross, District Commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex

“We get a lot of information from the community that helps us,” she told the Middy.

“We don’t want people reporting things on social media – it can create an unnecessary fear.

“We encourage people to call 101 or report online, or call Crimestoppers. But also, they should go to their neighbourhood watch, or council or parish office first – police shouldn’t be the first response to everything.”

Chf Insp Ross explained that there is a ‘multi-agency approach’ to crimes, and arresting someone should be a last resort.

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and Inspector Pete Dommett

Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and Inspector Pete Dommett

“We work with other agencies such as Mid Sussex District Council to tackle crime,” she said.

“We are robust and will take action when we need to do, but something could be done before we do this.

“My heart lies in prevention. To me, Mid Sussex is a safe place to live – there is a really good community spirit here and it is about building on that.”

Officers have seen a drop in antisocial behaviour in Burgess Hill following work done there, Chf Insp Ross said.

Elderly people who fall victim to fraud are also being supported with personalised visits from an officer or PCSO.

Talks are being given by officers to elderly groups and schools with the aim of building resilience in vulnerable people, Chf Insp Ross added.

But success is still ongoing, she said, adding that an additional 250 officers being recruited by Sussex Police will help.

Insp Dommett, Mid Sussex and Crawley Prevention Inspector, said the district had seen a drop in crime.

“It is actually very low,” he said, adding: “Year-end figures revealed that there were only 30 to 32 knife incidents, which works out as one per week or one per every ten days.

“We don’t see knives being recovered off teenagers and if we have concerns we speak to schools – it is about getting messages out to young people.”

Insp Dommett reiterated the importance of community intelligence. He said: “If you see something, like expensive vehicles parked outside in your street, or if there is a young person you are concerned about, tell us.

“Check on your elderly neighbours – you can identify vulnerable people in your street. We go by ‘notice, check, share’ – there is lots you can do.”

He added: “When you go into Mid Sussex and see people going about their daily lives, using out parks and going shopping, driving their cars, going to school or going home, it doesn’t feel like an area where it is out of control. Yes there is crime and we have to be careful and sensible, but if you look outside you’ll find it is not as bad as you think.”