Broadfield’s ‘community hub’ is being held up as an example to the rest of Sussex of a successful way to increase police visibility.
Sussex PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Katy Bourne and Chief Constable Martin Richards attended the Broadfield Library community hub this afternoon (Tuesday June 25) to unveil Sussex-wide plans to increase police accessibility.
The hub - which opened in January this year - is used as a permanent office for neighbourhood police and Sergeant Jane Phillips said she has noticed a reduction in crime.
She said: “It’s improving the perception of the police in Broadfield. I think it has reduced crimes.
“We have regular meetings with traders and they are already saying the increased visibility makes the Barton feel like a safer place because of the threat that we are nearer by.”
Sussex Police now aims to strengthen the role of Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) across Sussex over the next five years by introducing more local bases - this has been coined the ‘estate strategy’.
Officers will also be provided with more remote use technology such as iPads which they can use whilst out ‘on the beat’.
The estate strategy is part of wider plans to modernise the Force to improve service whilst making savings of £50 million by 2015 - as set by the Government.
Mrs Bourne said: “In the 21st century people access police services in many different ways and so we are looking to reduce the number of out-dated and expensive police stations.
“We will replace them with community hubs and public contact points where a number of public services can be accessed in one location, like the example in Broadfield Library in Crawley and the Town Hall in Hove.
“It is about putting policing back at the heart of the community.”
Chief Constable Martin Richards said: “With the opening of community hubs and public contact points, officers will play a more visible and accessible role in the community.
“We can offer the guarantee that where police stations provide a front counter service the Force will not take this away without providing an alternative way for people to contact us in person that matches or improves upon the existing service.”
By 2018, Sussex Police hopes to have introduced a number of new ways for members of the public to speak face-to-face with their neighbourhood policing teams.
These will include:
Public Contact Points where people will be able to find the same front counter service as a police station, but most likely alongside partner organisations such as the local authority; Community Hubs such as the one at Broadfield Library; Operational Policing Bases which will act as a base for multiple operational teams; and Neighbourhood Policing Bases.
A Forcewide map detailing what service will be available and where can be viewed at tinyurl.com/p4pnxor