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129, 560, 462,000 & 7.7% – Sussex police’s investment in numbers but will Crawley residents feel safer?

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Taser training for officers.

It’s a numbers game at the moment with policing.

With news that funding across England and Wales is to increase by £1.1 billion between 2020-21 there is a lot of noise coming out of Westminster of how it is the largest funding increase in a decade.

Sussex Police alone is set to receive £22.2 million of that which is a 7.7% increase.

On-top of that only last week it was announced that £462,000 was to be invested in 560 new tasers for officers.

So all sounds very glossy and reassuring doesn’t it?

And yet while additional equipment has been greatly applauded by the masses for officers the reality is only 129 additional officers are joining a force that covers 770sq miles. Is that really enough?

Taking a look at recent incidents around Crawley they all have a concurrent theme. Young people with knives robbing one another. How does the additional few officers for the town address this? How do those officers now equiped with a taser stop the robberies or the stabbings?

We need more officers to cope with the demand and we need more visual presence to try to address these issues. But no-one seems to be able to come up with a viable solution.

Education has always been one solution banded around but after all these years it does not ‘seem’ to be making a difference. Activities open to young people just seem to be based around sport and yet the last time I attended a sports funded activity aimed at taking ‘kids’ off the street the very problem youths it was aimed at were just the spectators watching and waiting for their friends to finish their football practise.

Numbers are all well and good and it is understandable that the government or council is happy to push them out in press releases as a way of encouraging trust and belief that things are going to change but change will only happen when there is a genuine belief that our streets are as safe as we really hope they are. Until then, expect more numbers to be thrown our way.

Opinion

Crawley Councillors who left Labour say they are still with Labour whilst not being Labour…eh??

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Another week and another bizarre development in the political turmoil that is Crawleys own council.

This week a letter penned by the two councillors, who made the dramatic move to leave Labour, has now been released showing how the two who have left Labour have in-fact not really left Labour and in-fact are still supporting Labour and intend to continue to support Labour whilst not being Labour but while making a ruckus of not being Labour – but are still kind of Labour in a non Labour kind of way. You follow?

What’s more, following some calls for the councillors to resign their positions now they are not representing the party their voters chose, we are reminded in the letter of how they condemn any such councillor who would dare to cling to office rather than listen to the people, just for the sake of it and how they would never do the same…

Except in this circumstance!

It’s like a carry on film at the council at the moment and who knows when it is going to change.

At a time when the town needs to come together the last thing it needs is division, but when situations like this occur then how on earth do you not call out the complete insanity of what is happening.

So a plea to both parties (PLUS INDEPENDENTS) – please just work together and stop the bickering so that you can all help the town!

You can read the letter for yourself below:

Dear Marion and Tim,

I hope that you and yours are keeping safe and well. The purpose of this email is to restate our position as independent councillors and to point out how our position as such may be helpful to the Labour Group at this time.

Of course, we are aware that Labour Groups are only permitted to enter into agreements with other groups in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort and that this can only be done in co-operation with the National and Regional Parties.

A reason for our choosing not to form a group ourselves was so that as many options remain open to guarding Labour’s manifesto and policy options as possible. If members of the Labour Group are committed to that as we are, then we do not see that there is any need to concede anything to the Tories. We took the decision not to form a group knowing that we would be ruling ourselves out of any positions that attracted a responsibility allowance and that we would have few or no opportunities to offer input as committee members.

As we have already said, we were elected on a Labour manifesto and we have re-stated our commitment to that.  We would always support policies that are consistent with Labour’s and you know that we would never betray Labour’s values and principles – to all intents and purposes, following the Labour Group whip.

We are aware that there has been a suggestion that pressure be applied to us to resign our council seats. We have always condemned those who cling to office for its own sake and have said consistently that we would never do that ourselves. No individual politician is bigger than the Party they represent, and we have always viewed this as self-serving. Added to this, the behaviour of certain Party and Group members over the last fortnight has very much tempted both of us to walk away.

However, should we resign our council seats at this time (while by elections cannot take place), it would leave residents of Bewbush, Northgate and West Green without the full representation to which they are entitled. Not only this, but this would be handing control to the Tories – they would then have a straight majority and would be able to take measures that are definitely not in accordance with Labour’s principles and values.

Even from a distance, it seems puzzling to us that – if what we hear is correct – the Labour Group have chosen to negotiate – which will always mean making concessions – with a Party that, as the Labour Group leader has put it himself, has very different politics from those of Labour.

Our differences with the Labour Party are not to do with Labour’s principles and values. Any vote of no confidence would be an endorsement (or not) of the current leader. It is not a vote of no confidence in the Labour Party, or Labour’s policies or the Labour Group as a whole. Our position regarding the current leader is firm: for reasons that we have been, and still are, prepared to explain to the Group if asked, we could not in all conscience give our votes to a leader in whom we now have even less confidence than we did at the time we resigned.

Best wishes,

Councillor Karen Sudan
Councillor Rory Fiveash

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