‘Lack of bobbies on beat’ denied

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An investigation has revealed Sussex Police force has the fewest bobbies on the beat per head of population out of all the forces in the country.

The analysis by the Sunday Times at the weekend showed just 8.3 neighbourhood officers patrol 100,000 people.

But Sussex Police says its figures do not equate with the Times’ statistics.

A force spokesperson said, “We currently have 227 police constables and sergeants and 196 PCSOs in our prevention team, often referred to as neighbourhood policing. With the population of Sussex around 1.6 million, this does not equate to the figure claimed by the Sunday Times.

“With the changing nature of crimes from which we need to keep people safe, policing has changed, with many crimes hidden, like online cyber crimes, we have to adapt and modernise to investigate these.

“In April 2018 Sussex Police launched a plan which sets out how we will invest council tax in the coming four years. The plan focuses on three key areas: local policing; improving public contact and modernising how we work.

“With council tax investment in Sussex our savings requirement has reduced significantly from £26.5million to £3million and means our workforce will increase from 2,500 officers to 2,700 officers by 2022. Recruiting these additional police officers means they will be based where they are most needed, including joining our prevention teams to increase visibility and accessibility for communities and able to work with partner agencies to address local concerns. We continue to prioritise what we do, to ensure that we are responding in the right way to address incidents which have the greatest threat, harm and risk attached. With more than 120,000 crimes reported to us we have to make choices about how we prioritise these.”