Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne is preparing her new Police and Crime Plan – a document that sets out the force’s strategic direction for the next four years – to be presented in January next year.
An online survey launched last week allows respondents to rate how important certain policing issues are to them.
The PCC is also specifically seeking the views of younger residents through the launch of an interactive online Policing Challenge game that asks users to rank their priorities.
There is a concern the younger demographic is typically under-represented in surveys, with most responders aged 55 or older.
As well as potentially influencing Sussex Police’s focus, survey responders can vote on a possible increase in council tax to go towards policing – known as the police precept.
For the year 2021/22, police forces across the country can raise the precept by up to £1.25 a month, which works out as £15 per year for an average Band D property.
Sussex residents in Band D properties currently pay £199.91 per year towards policing through their council tax.
Mrs Bourne said that, following new Government spending announcements, it was unknown whether the much-vaunted recruitment of 20,000 new police officers nationwide would continue.
“The pandemic has meant hardship and heartache for many people and put public services under increased pressure, including our police,” she said.
“I want to hear what is important to residents to help inform my Police and Crime Plan and my spending plans for the next four years and you can help by completing this very short survey.
“I also want to ensure that I hear from younger people in Sussex which is why we have launched our Policing Challenge online game.
“It shows just how challenging it can be to set a budget that enables Sussex Police to tackle all types of criminality and safeguard vulnerable people whilst delivering to the priorities of local people.!
Once drafted, the Police and Crime Plan and precept proposals are reviewed by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel – a committee made up of councillors from Sussex’s 15 local authorities.
The current plan, covering 2017 to 2021, set out four priorities. The first was to strengthen local policing through greater accessibility to services, specialist capabilities and engaging with the public.
The second was to work with the community to prevent crime and reoffending while the third priority was to more effectively support vulnerable people and victims of crime.
The final focus was to improve access to justice for victims and witnesses.
Next week, Sussex Newspapers is speaking to Katy Bourne about policing in 2020, her priorities for 2021 and what could be included in the new police and crime plan.
We’ve been asking our readers what they would like to ask Mrs Bourne and what they would like to see the police focusing on.
Email your thoughts or questions to [email protected]
The new Sussex Police and Crime Plan will be presented on January 29 and the survey to have your say finishes on January 10.
Access the survey at www.sussexpolice.researchfeedback.net/s/ospcc and take part in the Policing Challenge game at www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/policing-challenge.