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Bid for cash to stop kids turning to crime

Sussex could be in for a share of a £22 million Government fund aimed at steering young people away from serious crime.

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The Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner has submitted a bid for funding from the Early Intervention Youth Fund for work to prevent young people getting involved in serious violence.

The bid was outlined as the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the work of Commissioner Katy Bourne, heard a report on the work the police are doing with schools and other educational establishments.

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The panel heard the force had appointed 22 Prevention Youth Officers, aimed at strengthening links between the police and schools and colleges, in which they spend at least a quarter of their time.

Mark Streater, chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The emphasis is very much on trying to avoid the criminalisation of children rather than schools just asking for police interventions that tip them into the criminal justice system.

“If our bid for Government funding is successful, hopefully we will be able to do far more at an early stage to prevent young people being drawn into really problematic areas.”

The report outlined a seven per cent increase in recorded crimes relating to educational establishments last year, including a 45 per cent increase in sexual offences.

However, Mr Streater said the total represented an increase of just 0.12 crimes per school, and the increase in sexual offences was down to schools being more pro-active in reporting cases of ‘sexting’, in which youngsters send explicit images of themselves via mobile phone.

During the meeting, held at County Hall, in Lewes, the Commissioner also updated the panel on progress towards a new way of handling police complaints, which is due to be introduced in April.

Mrs Bourne said the change would mean she, rather than the Chief Constable as at present, will have the final say in considering appeals from people dissatisfied with how their complaint against the police has been resolved.

Panel chairman Cllr Bill Bentley said: “The panel was encouraged to receive an update on the excellent work being done to build stronger links with schools, colleges and universities and to prevent criminal behaviour.

“Early prevention is absolutely key and if the bid for funding is successful, it will have a huge impact on the work the police and their partners can do to stop young people from getting drawn into a life of crime.

“While the increase in crime rates in schools is concerning, the panel understands there are complex reasons behind this, however we will continue to closely monitor this issue and to scrutinise the work of the Commissioner.”

The meeting heard answers to questions raised in person or in writing from nine members of the public, and anyone with any issues or queries they’d like to raise with the Commissioner are urged to do so ahead of the next meeting, on Friday, February 1 2019.

Questions to the Panel must be submitted in writing two weeks before the meeting and can be emailed to pcp@westsussex.gov.uk or submitted by writing to Sussex Police and Crime Panel, Room 102 (Cabinet Office), County Hall, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1RQ or by calling 0330 222 2542.

Crime

Urgent appeal as £5k reward offered to find violent man who ransacked Crawley shop and assaulted child

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Police have launched an urgent appeal and offered a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the capture of Jordan Charles.

Charles has links to Crawley and Bexhill in East Sussex as well as Croydon in South London.

The appeal for anonymous information has been launched to urgently find 23-year-old Jordan Charles, who is wanted for questioning over a series of violent incidents in Sussex.  

A string of offences in recent months includes: violence and robbery; threatening revellers with a knife in Brighton; using racist and homophobic language; spitting saliva and blood at police; ransacking a takeaway in Crawley and attacking a customer; attacking staff at another Crawley restaurant with a glass and a metal chain dog lead wrapped around his hand; punching and kicking a woman to the floor outside a nightclub; assaulting a 12-year-old girl who had come to the aid of her mother and aunt during a parking dispute.

He has also failed to appear in court.

Jordan Charles is black, about 5’ 9″, of medium build and with black hair. He is known to have links to Crawley, and is thought to still frequent the area.

Glenys Balchin, Crimestoppers Regional Manager said:

“This man must be found before anyone else comes to harm, which is why we are making an urgent appeal to the public in Sussex, Surrey and south London to help find his location. Jordan Charles is dangerous and the allegations against him are serious.
 
“It is important to remind people that assisting somebody wanted for questioning over a crime can lead to prosecution. We are appealing to anybody who may know the whereabouts of Jordan Charles to urgently tell our charity what you know 100% anonymously. Always. You can call our UK Contact Centre, which is open 24/7, on freephone number 0800 555 111 or you can use our simple and secure anonymous online form.
 
“Crimestoppers has been taking crime information since our charity was formed over 32 years ago. Every day over a thousand people trust our charity with their anonymous information. Nobody will know you contacted us, only you.”

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