Sussex Police prepares for a crime rise of more than 10 per cent by next March

Sussex Police has defended its response to a predicted rise in crime figures.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham

The Sunday Times reported chief constables from across England and Wales expected crime future crime levels to increase, with violent crime, rape, burglary and criminal damage predicted to rise in Sussex, it said.

The forecasts came from self-assessed force management statements submitted to police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

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In the article, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton was quoted as saying police needed to ‘get smarter’ and described linking crime to police funding as ‘lazy’.

Sussex Police’s force management statement said it had been forced to make £88 million of savings since 2010 as a result of cuts to government funding.

The force has now outlined its plans to cope with its own ‘honest self-assessment’. A spokesman said: “We are anticipating these specific increases and already working to address them. In order to be effective, we have to prioritise what we respond to, always looking at the threat, harm and risk to those involved.

“We are anticipating these specific increases and already working to address them, with the support of a recent precept rise and our wide-ranging 18-22 strategy.”

The precept is the portion of council tax that goes towards local police forces.

The spokesman said that to meet increases in demand, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner released £17million of reserves in 2018 and increased the precept.

“As a consequence,” he said, “Our previous savings requirement of £26 million over the next four years has reduced to around £3 million and we have embarked on an ambitious recruitment path that will see overall numbers of police officers rise for the first time in over eight years.

Sussex Police predicted an increase in ‘recorded crime’ of 11 percent by March, 2019, but attributed some of this to improving ‘crime data integrity’.