On Wednesday evening, I attended an attestation ceremony where 77 new recruits took their oaths to be sworn in as constables with Sussex Police.
The attestations are always a memorable event for the new recruits, their families and friends because they herald the start of their career as a police officer and precede the commencement of their initial training.
Becoming part of the Sussex Police family is a challenging but rewarding career and the oath that recruits take to hold the office of constable and serve with integrity and fairness comes with unique responsibilities and authority.
Our new recruits should be extremely proud of themselves and I look forward to seeing them in post across our county.
From 25 March to 10 April, Keep Britain Tidy are running their annual campaign - “The Great British Spring Clean”.
As part of the campaign, thousands of offenders across the nation who have been charged with a community sentence are being mobilised to carry out over 10,000 hours of unpaid work to improve their local communities.
This week, I attended one of the many Community Payback (CP) projects run by the Probation Service in Kent, Surrey and Sussex where I met with staff and a group of CP participants.
It was impressive to see how the scheme was being run, to see how it is improving local communities and helping individuals to learn more about working as part of a team and decision-making.
It's not only important that offenders see the harm they have caused to people and that they make restoration but, through providing an alternative to prison and by giving opportunities for offenders to put things right, these projects help improve their life chances and futures.
Speaking about paying his debt back to society, one participant told me he is focusing on the new skills he has learnt and how he hopes to continue building on this and seek further employment in that field once his community sentence is over.
The public can nominate potential Community Payback projects too, provided they do not take paid work away from others and CP does not make a profit.
#GBSpringClean will see offenders pay back 10,000 hours to local communities
This week, I attended both the National Retail Crime Steering Group and chaired the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners Business Crime Portfolio. On Wednesday, the 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey publication was published providing a stark reminder that 38% of businesses are experiencing high volumes of crime including theft, assaults, threats and robbery.
Nine out of ten staff said they have experienced verbal abuse and one in ten have reported crime-related injuries. These crimes have a knock-on effect to residents and customers who may be deterred from shopping and being out in their local communities and supporting retailers.
The Survey’s findings show why it’s so important that Police & Crime Commissioners and police forces make business crime a key priority and I was encouraged to hear some of the innovative and targeted approaches being adopted. These include: the development of effective partnerships with local businesses; schemes to divert potential offenders; efforts to tackle re-offending, and ways to provide staff with the tools and confidence they need to report and recover from crime.
Katy Bourne OBE
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner