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‘Save our Library Service’ petition launched in Crawley

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council and prospective Labour Parliamentary Candidate in the forthcoming election, joined with Labour councillors from across West Sussex today to show his support for their campaign against cutbacks to the Library service across West Sussex.

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Labour Parliamentary Candidate Peter Lamb joined by Cllr Karen Sudan, Sue Quinn, Cllr. Brian Quinn, Cllr. Chris Oxlade & Cllr. Michael Jones.

The proposals would see the mobile library service abolished, all main libraries’ opening hours cut back by at least an hour and many smaller libraries under threat of closure, as Sussex County Council tries to cut back services to fit its shrinking budget following, as Labour put it, ‘continued drastic cuts by the national Tory Government’.

Commenting on the cuts Peter said:

“People in Crawley and all over the country have simply had enough of these cuts. What happened to the promise that austerity was over? Once these services are lost, they are lost forever. That is why I am supporting my County Council Labour Group colleagues in opposing these proposals.

“I know how hard it is to deliver services in the face of relentless budget cuts, but you have to draw a line somewhere. The Library service benefits people of all ages in Crawley. Not every family can afford the internet at home, they go to the library. If it closes at 6pm most working people will only be able to use the service on Saturdays which really isn’t good enough.

“I hope that people will sign the petition and force West Sussex to think again.”

Labour Group Leader on the County Council Michael Jones (Southgate and Gossops Green) who is a member of the Select Committee where the proposals were scrutinised and supported by the Tory majority, added:

“It is outrageously unfair to cut back in this way, and socially very damaging.  West Sussex say they want libraries to be the heart of their communities.  But presumably that is only provided that the community finishes at six in the evening.

“The West Sussex Library Service is one of the jewels in the crown of the county council and it is heartbreaking to see it being whittled away in this wholly irresponsible manner by the West Sussex Tories.

“And the sad fact is that all these Tory cuts to the library service are paltry in local government spending terms and to achieve them they will diminish a vital and much loved service.  I know Labour councillors across West Sussex will be keeping up the pressure to ensure none of them do.”

If the petition, which calls on the Cabinet Member to scrap any planned cuts to the library service, raises 3,000 signatures, which can be from anyone who lives, works or studies in West Sussex, West Sussex County Council will be forced to consider it at a meeting of the full council, where it will have to decide whether to take action to listen to the petitioners’ calls.

The petition can be found here.

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Crawley’s Community Wardens successfully retain police accreditation

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Crawley Borough Council’s Community Wardens have successfully retained their Sussex Police accreditation.

The Community Warden Team was granted accreditation status again in December 2019 by the Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Giles York. This lasts for three years. Crawley Borough Council’s wardens have been accredited since 2008.

The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) allows organisations and their employees working in community safety to be given targeted police powers by the Chief Constable. These powers can help them become more effective in their role and contribute to community safety and security, as well as combat crime and disorder, public nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

Additional powers the Community Wardens have under CSAS are:

  • Power to require the name and address of a person whom they have reasons to believe has committed a relevant offence (such as causing injury, alarm or distress to any other person or the loss or damage to any person’s property, or a relevant Fixed Penalty Offence)
  • Power to require name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner.
  • Power to require persons drinking in a designated place to surrender alcohol and to dispose of any alcohol
  • Power to require persons aged under 18 to surrender alcohol and to dispose of any alcohol
  • Power to seize tobacco from a person aged under 16 and to dispose of it
  • Power to stop cycles when they have reasons to believe that a person has committed the offence of riding on a footpath.

CSAS also allows for greater partnership working between the police and local organisations, as well as raising the priority of community safety.

Councillor Gurinder Jhans, Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, said:

“It is great to see the Community Wardens retain their Sussex Police accreditation. They play such an important role within Crawley; it’s vital that they have this accreditation so they can use the additional powers to help Sussex Police keep Crawley safe.”

You can report anti-social behaviour by filling in our form at www.crawley.gov.uk/communitywardens or calling 01293 438000 during normal office hours. For an urgent response between 8am and 9.30pm, seven days a week, call the Community Wardens on 07884 492324.

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