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Power Network says they are prepared as Storm Ciara is set to hit Crawley this weekend

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High winds are forecast from Saturday evening and expected to last through till the end of Sunday.

UK Power Networks is gearing up to respond to any power cuts caused by the high winds forecast across the region, during Storm Ciara due to hit the country from Saturday evening through Sunday.

Read more: Find out what to do in the event of a power cut.

The company that delivers power supplies to 8.3 million homes and businesses across the South East, East of England and London is preparing for a forecast of strong winds, which could bring down branches and trees, damaging overhead power lines.

The electricity network is built to be resilient, but extreme weather can sometimes damage overhead lines so extra engineers, damage assessment teams, call takers and other staff are in place and ready to respond over the weekend and into the next working week.

Head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, Ian Cameron, said:

“We understand how difficult is to be without electricity, especially during cold weather, and will do our best to restore supplies quickly if they are affected.

“Keeping people safe and fixing power cuts is our priority, so if you see any damaged power lines our advice is to stay away, keep everyone clear and call us on 105.

“We ask people to make sure they are prepared at home too. We provide free extra help to people living in vulnerable circumstances, who are on our Priority Services Register.”

Details on eligibility and how to register can be found at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk

Engineers will be able to restore some power supplies quickly without visiting damage sites, however it may not be possible for teams to climb and repair overhead power lines, until the winds have subsided to a safe level.

People can report any power cuts or damaged power lines by ringing 105, and customers can find up-to-date information on the company’s website or by following @ukpowernetworks on Twitter.

See how we restore power at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDTZK9mJE3U

UK Power Networks will be keeping customers regularly updated.

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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