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‘Administrative error’ blamed for West Sussex Youth elections fiasco

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It should have been a simple process.

Candidates would submit their manifestos which would be printed out and made available online and then children across the county would be able to take part in the election process.

Except, in the case of West Sussex, the simple process appeared to be flawed.

Each candidate was asked to submit no more than 150 words which they could put forward to encourage a vote for them. But when the manifestos went up there was one candidate who was given over 200 words.

Not only that but the layout of their manifesto was significantly different to the others.

Was this a case of favouritism? According to West Sussex County Council it wasn’t but the evidence was enough for them to call a halt to the process.

Now it appears that the council is rushing to rectify the situation by reprinting and republishing the manifestos so that ALL the candidates get exactly the same space, words and layout. But has the damage already been done?

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said:

“Unfortunately an administrative error meant the candidate signup forms were issued stating an incorrect word limit for manifestos.

As a result we have paused the current Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament election process while we resolve this issue and issue new candidate signup forms.”

West Sussex Council say that new manifestos should be reprinted and republished in due course so that the process can be restarted soon but no date was given.

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Dispersal Order goes live across Tilgate AND includes K2 Crawley

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Crawley police have joined forces with partner agencies to tackle a recent spate of anti-social behaviour.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker said:

“We are aware of anti-social behaviour being carried out by a small minority of people across the borough.

“This has included reports of groups gathering, drinking in the streets and drug issues. This behaviour is totally unacceptable and we will be working closely with partners to ensure the relevant actions are taken.”

A section 34 dispersal order has been issued from midday on Friday (5 June) which will cover:

  • Tilgate Park area, inclusive of the surrounding woodlands and various placements along Tilgate Drive towards the A23 and K2 Leisure Centre.
  • Tilgate Golf Course in its entirety.
  • Gainsborough Road Playing Fields (aka Tilgate Playing Fields)
  • Tilgate Parade.
  • All streets bordered by Ashdown Drive, Titmus Drive, Winchester Road and Gainsborough Road.

The dispersal order is in place for an initial 48 hours and enables officers and PCSOs to direct a person who has committed, or is likely to commit, anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder to leave a specified area and not return for the specified time period.

CI Baker added:

“ASB can have a significant impact on communities and we are committed to use the relevant policing powers to target this behaviour.

“You will see an increased policing presence in this location and our officers will be engaging with members of the public around the dispersal order and the current government guidance around the coronavirus. Officers will engage, explain and encourage and only if absolutely necessary, enforce”.

“We want to reassure the public that solving these issues remains a priority for us and we will continue to monitor reports regarding this behaviour”.

“We would like to thank those members of the public who have reported matters of ASB to us and would urge anyone who is a witness or victim of ASB to report it to us either online or call 101.”

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