Horsham needs a proactive response to reduce crime

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The recent death of a respected police officer, Matiu Ratana, should cause us all concern.

Horsham in recent times has also been the scene of murder and attempted murder. There has been violence against individuals in Horsham Park, muggings, car and house break-ins, illegal drugs and fly tipping.

As the town gets bigger logic would suggest this trend of crime to increase. For those people and businesses caught up in crime it must be very upsetting. Damaged bodies can be patched up and some property can be replaced, but not all. The mental trauma for some will never go away.

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The police know of these problems and have set up a proactive initiative named the Tactical Enforcement Unit, dedicated to capturing some of Sussex’s most prolific offenders. Launched on the July 29, 2020, the unit covers Sussex with a team of eight Police Constables, a Sergeant and an Inspector. It is intended to expand to 129 officers by March, 2021.

Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817981 SUS-180108-084523001Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817981 SUS-180108-084523001
Police. Pic Steve Robards SR1817981 SUS-180108-084523001

The initiative should be welcomed by all good citizens. However, is this enough? Are we prepared to accept just what we are given when our brains tell us that more proactive action is needed? We can press upon those we have elected to represent us that we want to be better served, so that we feel safe. Too often we hear words to reassure us that all considerations regarding our concerns are very much on the agenda. This is not action. Shall we accept this situation and live with increasing crime which is already at a level that lowers enjoyment of life in our town?

Government has allowed the police to fail the first principle of policing, as set out by Robert Peel, that ‘the basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder’. Today the police often react to crime after it has happened, rather than prevent crime by a visible and convincing public presence. The presence of the police on our streets may prevent people being mugged and property being stolen. Those who govern need to boost spending on the police.

Is it sensible that Horsham Police Station in Hurst Road, serving a town of some 60,000 people, is only open Monday to Friday for four hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon? Is it sensible that some pathways in Horsham Park have no lighting?

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There is no simple solution to this complex problem and impossible to solve by the police alone. If we wish to have less crime in our town, we need to do something proactive. We need to start talking about how to reduce criminal activity in Horsham. If enough of us talk about proactive action we can bring about change for a better, safer, future in Horsham.

We need a change in attitude by pressing those who represent us to stop being reactive, but to be proactive towards crime.

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