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‘Nothing to see here’ Police activity across Crawley criticised & compared to Naked Gun scene

It would almost be comical if it wasn’t so serious but it is the lack of communication that has alarmed residents.

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From 8pm yesterday (Wed 29th May) through till 4pm today a Section 60 order was actioned.

The order gives officers the right to search people without reasonable grounds and it’s use has been widely reported across the town, most notably today.

Images from residents and business owners have shown the sheer quantity of officers patrolling and stopping individuals and groups as they made their way through Crawley.

On one occasion four bikers were stopped on Haslett Avenue with an astonishing 4 vans, 4 cars, two patrol bikes and a hovering helicopter all in attendance. Only 30 minutes later the bikers were allowed to continue and the police dispersed leaving almost a hundred onlookers bewildered.

Surrey Police did put out a statement last week explaining that there would be an increase in activity.

Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp said:

“As part of our plan to ensure the riders, as well as the public are safe, we have now put a Section 60 order in place. The order is only put in place when we believe there is a possibility of serious violence, or weapons are involved. This isn’t something we have done lightly and is absolutely in place for the public’s safety.”

Sussex Police also added:

“This week we’ve had a number of officers out and about engaging with motorcyclists as part of the #TwoWheels campaign to raise awareness of safe riding.

The county is already seeing an increase in motorcycles in the area because of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) Euro Run 2019, which is one of a number of events, including the Epsom Derby and Kemp Town Festival, taking place in Surrey and Sussex making it a busy period for officers. “

But local people have hit out at the intense presence and lack of information being shared by officers at the scenes.

One resident in Three Bridges said:

“I saw dozens of officers surrounding 4 riders and it was very alarming. When I tried to find out what was happening me and my friend were told its all ok just routine. But how can it be routine when you cant get past almost a dozen police vehicles? It’s like that scene from Naked Gun when there are fireworks going off and he’s telling everyone there’s nothing to see. If there wasn’t anything to see then why would we be asking?”

Responding to images of police activity on social media some have said that the Police’s response to the Hells Angels Motorcyle Club coming through the town is over the top with one saying:

“The old bill need to go and get on with their jobs and stop harassing these men, it will be highly unlikely they are/would do anything thats likely to bring the club into disrepute”

Whilst one lady added:

“My husband has a chat with one of the hells angels at the pub earlier- was very pleasant- why can’t they be left to do what they are doing”

One person pointed out that they felt the police were concentrating their efforts in the wrong place saying:

“I’d rather the Police went in the Memorial Gardens in town and moved on all the drug users spaced out on the benches and passed out on the ground. Horrible sight especially in kids holidays.”

After hearing the publics reaction Sussex Police added:

“There is currently an increased number of police officers in the Crawley area, highly  visible and tasked with specific activities alongside assurance visits. 

These patrols are for reassurance and as part of our policing activity during an incredibly busy Bank Holiday week with a number of events taking place.

We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time during this period, especially recognising that there is lots going on this week. 

Residents and visitors should be in no doubt that any anti-social behaviour or criminal activity will not be tolerated and any reports will be dealt with swiftly.

We will also be using this as an opportunity  to raise awareness with businesses and the community around local priorities issues such as serious and organised crime.”


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Tributes paid after Tilgate Councillor passes away

Councillor Charles Petts passed away yesterday evening (15th July).

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Councillor Charles Petts recently won a council seat for Tilgate in the May elections after serving as a West Sussex County Councillor for Three Bridges.

Posting on his facebook page Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“Yesterday evening I lost one of my best friends to cancer.

We’d been friends since 2006, well before either of us got involved in local politics.

Cllr Charles Petts to most and Jeff to his friends, Jeff was a great guy. A really kind, generous man who lived his Christian faith and smiled at life.

Jeff knew my family really well, knew my kids, knew my mum and dad, and loads of my family. He was a big part of my life.

Whenever I met up with him or whenever he came over to my place (which was very, very regularly) I said the usual “how’s it going?” and he would say “ahk you know, I’m alright, can’t complain”.

Jeff had been battling cancer for a couple of years, and was putting up a great fight, even doing a tough mudder last year, but then very recently, it all changed.

I am heartbroken. I haven’t lost a colleague, I’ve lost a brother, a best friend.

Jeff has left behind a young daughter and a son. I am heartbroken for them too, completely.

I look forward to seeing Jeff in the next life, and until then I will miss him greatly.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“He was well liked and dedicated and will be a great loss to Crawley.”

Mr Smith also tweeted:

Crawley Conservative Leader Duncan Crow tweeted:

Leader of Crawley Council tweeted:

A statement from Crawley Borough Council said:

“Councillor Charles Petts, ward councillor for Tilgate, died peacefully yesterday evening in St Catherine’s Hospice with his son present.

Charles had been a Crawley Borough Councillor since May and a West Sussex County Councillor for Three Bridges since 2017.”

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