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Police chase into Crawley ends moments after children would have been arriving at school

A police chase that was initially reported seen coming from Copthorne has ended dramatically in Three Bridges.

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It was a miracle that there were no school children using the Hazelwick subway to get to school.

Only moments after the area would have been full of children, parents, staff and residents all making their way to school, work or the supermarket then a dramatic police chase ended as a Audi crashed its way into a barrier just before the subway.

Photos from the scene show a badly damaged Audi that was trying to evade a stop by police.

The car was driven at speed from Copthorne and was trying to evade a stop by taking back roads, finally coming to a stop when it took a turning into a footpath off Woodend Close towards the subway.

The subway leads to Hazelwick Ave and is opposite Hazelwick Mill Lane which leads to Hazelwick School.

But the driver didn’t know that barriers prevent any vehicle from accessing the main road.

Sussex Police have subsequently updated what happened saying:

“Sussex Police has arrested a man in Crawley following a police pursuit.

Officers responded to a call from a member of the public around 8,40am on Thursday (November 21) concerned for the driver of a vehicle near Copthorne Common, Crawley.

On arrival, the driver made off from the officers shortly after he collided with a stationary police car and he was pursued towards Church Road. The driver then decamped from a dark blue Audi convertible in Scallows Road, Crawley.

Shortly after this, officers received another phone call from a member of the public reporting a man acting suspiciously nearby.

Officers, assisted by the police helicopter, conducted an area search and a suspect was detained.

A 24-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving under the influence of drugs. He remains in custody and enquiries are ongoing.

If anyone believes they may have seen this car, witnessed the matter or has any dash cam footage you can report information online or call 101 quoting 262 of 21/11. “

Police were seen using dogs and a helicopter to look over the scene and numerous officers have been scouring the bushes and grass areas for evidence.

Sussex Police have been contacted for more information.

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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