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As Police & Council respond to Crawley crime spree, why are people still not happy?

Earlier this week we broke the news of the desperation from businesses and staff in Crawley town centre as crime levels were seeing thousands of pounds disappearing and threatening to close stores.

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Following our report the police, council and one of the major high street stores have responded but whilst it is supposed to be reassuring words from all, in-fact to those being affected it is still coming across as just words and not actions.

Read the original report here.

One of the areas covered was the huge amount of goods being stolen on an hourly basis from M&S. A store that only has security randomly through the week, yet crime is soaring every day and staff are feeling unable to act.

Responding to the report an M&S spokesperson said,

“We appreciate the community’s frustrations because, like all retailers, we do experience theft, but our teams are supported to minimise incidents whilst offering customers a great in-store experience.

We are also working closely with other retailers and community representatives, as part of the town partnership scheme, to address the issue and improve the high street.”

M&S were contacted following their response to ask when they may be adding more security into the store but said they had nothing more to add at this moment.

The police responded with Inspector Peter Dommett saying:

“Working with Crawley Business Watch, Crawley Borough Council and outreach partners, we have launched Crawley street community intensification days and these are already showing demonstrable results.

“We are putting out high-visibility uniformed officers to deal with the issues, creating a visual deterrent and offering reassurance to businesses, shoppers and other users of the town centre.

“On Monday (March 18), we arrested four people for separate multiple shoplifting offences and we are also targeting those who are selling on stolen goods. On Wednesday (March 20), our team was once more in action, targeting the top ten most prolific offenders, making three arrests for shoplifting, one who was wanted for shoplifting and one for begging. We also gave warnings to three other beggars who could find themselves in court if they come to our attention again.

“You can keep up with these activities through Sergeant Anthony Cheeseman’s regular updates on his Twitter account – @SussexSgtCC238.

“This activity, involving prevention team police officers and PCSOs, divisional response teams and devoted specialist support from our investigation team, has been made possible by the extra funding provided by the police and crime commissioner’s precept increase.

“Anyone who is arrested as part of this programme is offered help through community justice liaison nurses, including accommodation, but we find that a number of street sleepers are doing so as a lifestyle choice having shunned offers of support.

“Sussex Police and other partners, including the council and social services, meet once a month to discuss those who are living on the streets and look to use innovative ways to get them back into accommodation.

“Several more intensification days have already been programmed in by Chief Inspector Rosie Ross and I would encourage anyone to speak to use about any specific concerns they may have that we might be able to address.

However, the response from the police did little to appease one business owner who said:

“Fantastic news, well done, they should be proud but how does that help us? Look, we understand they are busy and not just sitting around. No-one is blaming them for the crimes and we are certainly not saying they don’t do good work but what they need to understand is that if this is all going on and they are taking all this action then why are we all still suffering and why do we feel they are not around enough? I have one elderly couple who have visited us for years but who now are too afraid to walk across the park. I’m serious. They feel too threatened.”

A shopper from Three Bridges who we approached and discussed the findings responded:

“Why doesn’t the town centre have its own security staff patrolling all the time?”

This all comes after one resident, Mr Benson, responding to our story had already messaged us saying:

“How come they (the police) frequently have enough resource to station a copper at the bottom of Southgate avenue to catch people out speeding but have no interest in crime that is affecting people’s livelyhoods and these criminals will only become more brazen and move on to bigger crimes if left unchecked.”

With so much heated passion about the state of affairs it is clear that more needs to be done publicly and visibly around town so perhaps the response from Crawley Borough Council may give some reassurance to business owners and shoppers:

“We are concerned and sympathetic towards the businesses regarding these issues and we are in discussions with Crawley Police, the Town Centre Partnership and Crawley and Gatwick Business Watch to establish the most effective way forward, part of this includes organising a training session with Crawley Police and other local partners to improve our use of ASB Legislation against those behaving anti-socially and committing crimes, such as theft.

“The £2.2 million Queensway, Pavement and Kingsgate regeneration scheme has already opened up the lines of sight into Memorial Gardens from Queensway and Kingsgate by removing the boundary hedges.  This is to allow for the gardens to be directly overlooked by the shops and street along Kingsgate in order to deter anti-social behaviour and crime.  The scheme also includes measures to address security and safety issues such as installing new CCTV. Our Community Wardens also continue to carry out daily patrols around the town centre.

“The Queens Square regeneration scheme has attracted over £30 million of investment due to a string of retailers and other businesses taking up premises in and around Queens Square, including Decathlon, Metrobank and Iceland.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith commenting on the situation said:

“There should be zero tolerance on crime in Crawley. Sussex Police funding for 2019/20 has been increase by 8.4 per cent; a rise of over £22 million. I welcome the Sussex Police Commissioner’s actions in recruiting 200 new officers, many for Crawley. We now need to see greater deployment on our streets and town centre.”

Whilst it is clear that everyone is taking the situation very seriously it is also very evident that with all good intentions there needs to be substance or the very shops that are suffering will eventually put a stop to it themselves.

Business

Get ready, Krispy Kreme is coming to Crawley

Krispy Kreme is set to open a sweet new store at County Mall, Crawley – opening at 10am on the 25th June – you dough-not want to miss it!

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The store, shaped just like the iconic doughnut dozen box, will open its ‘lid’ to customers in Crawley just in time for them to get their hands on the much-loved sweet treats this summer.

To celebrate the grand opening, Krispy Kreme has planned an opening day jam-packed with fun for Crawley’s doughnut fans. To kick off the festivities, the first, second and third in line will be rewarded with extra special prizes, and to put the glazing on top, the first dozen in line will also receive exclusive Krispy Kreme goodies! 

Krispy Kreme’s very own buzz-wire will also be at the store on opening morning, giving customers the chance to win freshly baked, tasty treats… if they have a steady hand!

Bringing a ‘hole’ new look to the Krispy Kreme retail experience, the all-new box store will give Krispy Kreme fans joy-filled moments every time they visit. There will be sixteen varieties of sweet treats on offer at  the County Mall, Crawley store, from the iconic Original Glazed, to the melt-in-the-mouth Lotus Caramelised Biscoff. There’s a freshly-made treat to suit every taste bud!

Craig Evans, UK new store openings manager at Krispy Kreme, said:

”We can’t wait to meet Krispy Kreme fans at our new store at County Mall, Crawley – we know fans have been calling for a store in the area for some time, so we’re really looking forward to opening day.

“We’re all about sharing the magic at Krispy Kreme, so to celebrate the opening we’ll be dishing out hundreds of complimentary doughnuts across the local area in the lead up to the opening…shoppers and doughnut lovers, keep your eyes peeled – we will see you there!”

The new store at County Mall, Crawley is the fifth Krispy Kreme store to open its doors in 2019.

Like us on Facebook ‘Krispy Kreme UK’, follow us onTwitter@krispykremeUK & Instagram ‘KrispyKremeUK’, for more news on the upcoming opening.

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