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Over 30% rise in reports of violent and sexual offences in Crawley in just 2 years

A worrying sign that crime is increasing or are more people now reporting incidents?

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As part of a series of reviews Crawley News 24 is undertaking on crime across the town, the first part of results have seen a rise in reports of violent and sexual offences of 30.9% for the first quarter when compared to the same period for the past two years.

The data was collected from police.uk and is a collation of reports for all the Crawley wards.

The polices term of ‘violent and sexual offences’ includes much more than physcial violence, it also includes incidents such as domestic abuse which the force has been working hard to ensure the public report on.

So the figures will very much be affected by the increase in reporting by the public, but this in itself is alarming.

With the police trying to be as public facing as they can recent social media posts have shown them trying to address areas such as Memorial Gardens from drug use, but with these figures showing such a large increase it is now questionable whether Katy Bourne’s additional 200 officers for the whole of Sussex is anywhere near enough.

Chief Inspector Simon Starns said:

“These figures are in line with national figures and we are lower than the rest of the region.

Crime in Crawley is similar to the rest of Sussex but we are not complacent and keep working with all partners to look at ways to tackle violent and sexual crime.

“Violent crimes can cover a variety of things and is not necessarily physical violence. Sexual crime and violent crime does include incidents such a domestic abuse which we need to know about.

We see increased reporting is a good thing and we’re encouraging these incidents to be reported. The more people report, the more know and the more we can do to tackle an issue.

“We look at taking a longer term preventative approach with our partners to protect those most vulnerable people in higher risk categories.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“These are concerning figures and the situation needs addressing. Much is down to improved reporting but also a worrying trend where ‘county lines’ drug dealing coming out of London, with associated violent crime, has had an impact on Crawley.

I welcome Sussex Police recruiting an extra 200 officers, with an additional 20,000 to come nationally as well as a recent Home Office grant of £920,000 to directly address this challenge.”

Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb said:

“Across Crawley, we have all experienced the impact of the police disappearing from our community as we have witnessed the rise of crime and antisocial behaviour in our streets, near our places of work and the centres of our neighbourhoods.

These figures only go to show that if you allow the ‘minor’ crimes to become commonplace, the major crimes will follow. It’s time Crawley got its police back.”

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Crawley College to reopen following incident

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Crawley College will be beginning a phased reopening to students from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April.

The phased reopening will take place between tomorrow and Tuesday 4 May with full details by courses provided on the college website www.crawley.ac.uk . Students should check details before returning to campus.

The campus has remained closed for the past two days following police investigations into the incident that took place at the college on Monday (26 April).

Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to the college.

“We’d like to reassure everyone, the college is safe and they will be well supported in their return to the campus.

“Sussex Police have confirmed that this is being treated as an isolated incident which is not terror related and nobody else is being sought in connection with the incident.  The individual concerned is in police custody and has been charged.”

“We are now focussed on ensuring we can bring students and staff safely back on site. We’re proud of the service we provide to our students to give them opportunities in education and training.

“I can reassure everyone that this was a one-off incident and we have strategies in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as giving the students the support they need to come back and join us to complete their studies successfully.”

Vicki also echoed her earlier comments, paying tribute to the staff who supported students who were on site during the events of Monday afternoon.

She added:

“I continue to remain full of admiration of our team. They pulled together on Monday and implemented all of the protocols we have in place to keep students safe.

“They’ve continued to work together to support each other and their students over the past couple of days – and they will continue to do so when students return to campus.

“We are also particularly proud of the two members of staff who acted so bravely and swiftly to apprehend the individual before the police arrived. They acted selflessly to protect their students and the college community. They have asked for privacy during this time.

“It was a very intense time for everyone involved.

“The students who were kept inside the college and who were part of the emergency evacuation were supported throughout by our staff and counselling services have been available to them this week. These services will continue to be in place for them to access.

“We’ve continued to be in touch with our students through our support services to check that they are ok and we will resume face-to-face counselling as soon as we can.”

Work is taking place at the college campus to repair some damage which was sustained during the evacuation and subsequent investigations, with teams working hard to ensure the campus is ready for reopening.

The college would like to thank students, staff, the Police and Emergency Services and the wider community for their ongoing support and understanding.

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