Hastings and Rother police chief to stand down

Hastings and Rother district commander Chief Inspector Steve Curry
Hastings and Rother district commander Chief Inspector Steve Curry

The district commander for Hastings and Rother is stepping down from the role.

Chief Inspector Steve Curry, who vowed to tackle organised crime and class A drug supply in the area, took on the position in January 2017 after serving four years as district commander in Crawley.

However, after 25 years with Sussex Police, the married father-of-two has made the decision to retire.

He said: “My knees are shot to pieces and the fact I need to have two knee replacements has been a big factor in my decision.

“I had put it off for as long as possible but it was a personal choice in the end. 25 years is a long time but now I am weighing up a few options about what to do next.

“I have worked all across Sussex, starting off in Brighton and spending some time in Crawley before finishing up in Hastings.”

Chief Inspector Curry began his police career in 1993 as a beat constable in Moulsecomb, Brighton, and then became the community beat officer for St James’s Street and Queens Park.

Promotion to sergeant followed in 2000, and two years later he was appointed as neighbourhood policing inspector for East Brighton.

In 2008, he was promoted to chief inspector and spent four years at Crawley as district commander before moving to the corporate development department at police HQ in Lewes as head of force performance before his move to Hastings and Rother.

During his tenure, Hastings dropped off the top spot for the highest rate of reported crime in Sussex for the first time in four years – something Chief Inspector Curry put down to the hard work of his team but acknowledged was only the beginning.

He added: “When I took on the role, the key areas to work on were similar to Crawley. We had to address the organised crime groups and understand the circumstances, as well as protect children in the area.

“Drug groups from outside the area have been exploiting young people across the county for years by supplying drugs which are then sold on to their peers. I went into schools and colleges to address year 9, 10 and 11 students about the very real dangers of drugs as well as knife crime.

“That work needs to continue. People need to understand the inherent dangers of using high risk cannabis and other drugs.”

Chief inspector Curry acknowledged work needed to be done to reduce knife crime in Hastings and Rother particularly among young people, citing the death of Connor Ansell – the 16-year-old who died from stab wounds in November 2017 – as something he hopes to never see again.

He also said more had to be done to reduce the rate of drug related deaths after 30 people died between 2015 and 2017 – the eighth highest rate in the country.

He said: “The rate of deaths rose from 9.3 to 11.3 (per 100,000 people) over the past two years including some deaths over Christmas.

“What we will see though is that figure being driven down (in the next few years) with all the work that we have been doing.”

Looking back on his time with Sussex Police,Chief Inspector Curry said he felt privileged.

He added: “I had never worked in Hastings before I took on the role. I feel really privileged to have led the team there and help make some achievements.

“A lot of hard work has gone on in the front lines despite being presented with difficulties. They have done a fantastic job keeping the community safe.

“Handing back the warrant card will be a strange feeling. I will miss the people and the teams I have worked with massively. I will miss that camaraderie.

“It is important that we continue to strive to deliver the best service that we can to the communities that need us.”

Related stories:

Hastings no longer has highest reported crime rate in Sussex

Hastings ‘eighth highest’ for drug-related deaths

Teenager jailed for St Leonards manslaughter

New Hastings and Rother police chief vows to fight organised crime