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Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner launches public survey on dog thefts

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Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, in partnership with the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (APCC) has launched a national survey, designed to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement and the prosecution of offenders.

The Home Secretary is currently reviewing the issue of pet theft and what future enforcement may look like with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators.

The responses to this survey will help inform the discussions that PCCs will have on this issue nationally and allow police forces to better understand the public’s views on this crime and how they might improve their response to those concerns.

Demand for dogs as pets has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of some puppies, on Pets4Homes, is currently as high as £3,000, making them a valuable commodity to criminals. 

According to Dog Lost, the UK’s largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is spearheading the first national conversation with the public on this issue as public perception and fear is growing to an all-time high.

She says:

“Pet theft, dog theft in particular, is a growing concern for the public and their fear has been perpetuated over the last couple of weeks with shocking reports in the media of more dogs being snatched by criminals.

“I am incredibly eager to get more detail around this issue and understand residents’ views and if they feel more could be done to respond to their concerns or for more preventative measures to be put in place to better protect their pets. 

“I’m pleased to see the Home Secretary recognising the devastating impact of this crime and I hope that the results of this survey will give the Government the evidence it needs to take more robust action against perpetrators.”

Sussex Police recorded 31 dog thefts in 2020 but at least 12 of those were disputes over dog ownership between known parties.

Inspector Andrea Leahy from the Sussex Police Rural Crime Team said:

We support this national survey and the team are working tirelessly to collate information and intelligence on this worrying crime. We have dedicated officers covering the county who review every report that comes into us. We would like to encourage the public to report all suspicious circumstances and read our crime prevention advice on our website. We are dedicated to keeping your pets safe and target any persons believed to be involved in this distressing crime.”

The 60-second survey will be open until 17:00 on Friday 12th March.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dogtheft

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Looking for a space to run your small business or community group? Crawley hospital is offering rooms for hire

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NHS Open Space, a service launched by NHS Property Services (NHSPS), has expanded its portfolio to over 700 rooms across 100 sites nationwide, with 7 new spaces available at Crawley Hospital.

Offering clinical and non-clinical spaces for hire on an hourly or daily basis, with greater flexibility at an affordable price, this expansion will help the organisation towards its aim of making better use of NHS space and enabling excellent patient care.

Health and wellbeing providers looking for alternative and flexible ways to deliver services in their community can now choose from 700 clinical and non-clinical rooms nationwide, ranging from examination rooms, to group activity spaces, to offices.

In addition, small business owners and community groups can use these spaces, allowing them to book rooms only for the length of time they need, easing pressure on finances and enabling them to be more flexible during these unpredictable times. New services will join a community of over 1,000 users who have so far made 125,000+ bookings, accounting for more than 700,000 hours of patient service delivery. Income made from NHS Open Space bookings will be reinvested back into the health service for the benefit of patients and to help support the NHS.

“We recognise that the last year has been challenging for many healthcare providers, small businesses and community groups. We hope that NHS Open Space will help to provide a flexible and affordable option for those who are looking to continue or get back to work in the coming months,” said Christopher King, Principal Strategic Asset Manager at NHSPS.

“Safety continues to be our number one priority; our customers and patients can feel safe in the knowledge that all available sites are cleaned and maintained to the highest of safety standards.”

The programme is set to continue to grow throughout the year, with further expansions planned for Autumn and Winter. Throughout the pandemic, spaces have remained open for use, ensuring providers could safely continue to offer support to patients. NHS Open Space also supported the NHS in providing space for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with over 1,500 bookings relating to COVID-19 services since December 2020.

Ruth Todd, Clinical Assistant at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has used NHS Open Space to keep her Diabetes service running during the pandemic.

“With every booking I can be confident that the room will be set up, clean and ready to go – even more important this year as infection control is our top priority. This has helped me and my patients return to NHS sites when remote consultations aren’t possible, making sure my patients get the support they need during these uncertain times.”

Sarah Meredith, Immunisation Nurse as Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, has found the transparency and support helpful as she moves from one booking to the next.

“Once an NHS Open Space room is booked on my behalf, I get an email with all the details I need. As a busy clinician I have found it really useful to get a definite confirmation prior to a clinic that I would have a room to work from. When I’ve had any questions or issues it’s soon been resolved by the efficient on-site staff.”

To find out more about NHS Open Space and the properties and rooms on offer in your area, visit: https://www.openspace.nhs.uk/.

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