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Crawley Sikhs join Armed Forces Day celebrations

Armed Forces Day took place on Saturday (30 June), and Crawley’s Sikh community showed solidarity with British Armed Forces.

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Sikhs from Crawley Gurdwara, Ifield Green joined celebrations in Memorial Gardens to show appreciation of the work of the Armed Forces.

On Saturday (30 June), they served free food and spoke with people about the heroic contributions of Sikhs to the British Military past and present.

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Throughout the day volunteers from the Sikh community engaged with locals, talking about how Sikh ethics underpin their commitment to serve and support the Armed Forces.

The Chair of the British Armed Forces Sikh Association, Sgt. Sarvjit Singh, joined in with the activities of the day. He paid tribute to Crawley Gurdwara for taking part in this year’s event, and for the interest shown by the people of Crawley to learn more about Sikhs and the Armed Forces.

There is a proud military tradition amongst Sikhs that traces back throughout their turbulent history. In the 17th Century, following oppression from the Mughal Empire, Sikhs resorted to arms not only to defend the sanctity of their own faith, but also to protect the beliefs and traditions of others.

In more recent times, estimates suggest that over 83,000 turban wearing Sikh soldiers died and over 100,000 were injured during both World Wars. Sikh battalions fought in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Gallipoli and France during the First World War. While in the Second World War, six battalions of the Sikh Regiment were raised and served in the Battle of El Alamein, Burma, Italy and Iraq, winning 27 battle honours.

One of the most famous acts of valour demonstrated by Sikhs came about in 1897 at the Battle of Saragarhi in Afghanistan. 21 Sikh soldiers died defending a British Army post against 10,000 Afghans. Ten Sikhs have also won the Victoria Cross.

Speaking on Armed Forces Day, Jasvinder Kaur, President of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Crawley, Ifield Green, said:

“Events like this are so important to highlight the strength of unity in Crawley amongst such a diverse community. We’re really proud to take part in this year’s Armed Forces Awareness Day and to show that regardless of our backgrounds, there are universal values that we all share.

As Sikhs we have a special responsibility to defend the rights and freedoms for all.  We have a rich history of fighting against tyranny, so we are delighted to be able to share some of this with people today.

The British Army’s values of courage, discipline, integrity, respect for others, loyalty and self-less commitment, are all virtues that Sikhs prescribe to and try to live by. This is why we will always show support for the brave men and women in our Armed Forces.”

Some of Crawley’s Sikh community with Town Mayor, Carlos Castro.

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Coronavirus

Reports of anti-social behaviour across Crawley increase by as much as 780% during lockdown

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At first glance it is an alarming and worrying increase. The figures from Police.uk show how as the town entered lockdown at the end of March there was a huge increase in reports of anti-social behaviour through the following month of April.

Ifield had the largest increase in reports for anti-social behaviour with a huge rise of 780% in April 2020.

The figure for Ifield ward may be shocking but all other wards across the town have also seen a dramatic rise as well.

The following shows the percentage increase in reports of anti-social behaviour across Crawley for the first month of lockdown (April 2020).

Bewbush reported a 444%.

Pound Hill – 330% increase.

Northgate – 212% increase.

Broadfield – 150% increase.

Langley Green – 135% increase.

Southgate – 135% increase.

Tilgate – 118% increase.

Three Bridges – 100% increase.

Maidenbower reported – 81% increase.

So what has caused the sudden increase? Has the town suddenly become more ‘anti-social’?

Actually no, the answer has everything to do with the very lockdown itself and not what you would normally consider a ‘traditional anti-social behaviour’.

As the new rules were laid out then so most people acted correctly and obeyed them. But at the same time some didn’t and these people ended up getting reported by others.

Now a decision had to be made of how a report into a disobeyance of lockdown rules would be classed and in the end they were put under anti-social behavour.

Whether it was a report of a party happening in someones garden, through to groups of youths congregating on street corners, all these reports got filed under anti-social behaviour and saw the dramatic rise in figures.

One thing these figures have shown, however, is a glimpse into which wards were possibly obeying the rules more than others, OR conversely which ward residents were reporting more frequently on others.

But despite the dramatic rise Ifield did not actually have the highest number of anti-social reports in April 2020 across Crawley. Closer analysis of the figures shows that it was in-fact Broadfield that had the most reports.

Broadfield (which had a 150% rise) had 75 reports compared to Ifield’s 44 in April 2020 with Pound Hill (330% increase) receiving the second highest number of 56.

Looking at Ifields 780% rise, the actual number of anti-social reports in March 202 was only 5, while in April 2020 it was 44.

Our findings are supported by the response from Sussex Police over the figures.

District Commander for Crawley & Mid Sussex Chief Inspector Shane Baker said:

“Most crime types dropped sharply during the early stages of lockdown in April, however the suggested statistics does not reflect a true increase in reports of anti-social behaviour.

“After government restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19, police received a high volume of reports of gatherings and Covid-19 related calls, these were recorded under anti-social behaviour and therefore it is not an increase in traditional ASB.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and are committed to keeping our local communities safe and pleasant places to live, however overall crime is still well below this time last year.

Data for May 2020 has not yet been released, but it will be fascinating to see just how the data compares to the first month of lockdown and whether it raised more concerns of ‘anti-social behaviour’ or fewer.

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