A meeting to discuss the increase in violent crime in Horsham was unable to progress when police did not attend.
The Joint Action Group (JAG), which is made up of representatives including the neighbourhood watch, the council and police, was due to be held yesterday, Horsham District Councillor Christine Costin said.
But the meeting to discuss the increase in violent crime and serious vandalism in the town was ‘unable to progress’ without the police representative being present, she added.
Horsham police commander Chief Inspector Sarah Leadbeatter said the absence was a ‘genuine error’.
She added: “[It] has already been picked up with the chair of the meeting and arrangements are being made for it to be rescheduled in the very near future.”
Councillor Costin said she has written to Chief Inspector Leadbeatter to raise the issues she hoped to discuss at the meeting.
She added: “I know they’re busy. I have been on the JAG committee for years. They have always turned up.
“I’m quite sure that they will be coming to other meetings but I personally needed to put the points I wanted to make.
“People are very worried about a growing trend that is being experienced not only here but across Britain.
“Horsham is on the whole a calm, safe place where residents and visitors expect to feel relaxed and cushioned against the worst aspects of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Being on JAG for some time I have been aware of incidents of aggressive and unwelcome activities on our streets.”
Councilor Costin said she had been ‘impressed’ by strategies used by Chief Inspector Leadbeatter and her teams, but added that town representatives like herself were now contacted more regularly by residents with concerns about crime.
She urged residents to report crimes and said the public ‘has a role to play’ in improving the situation.
Councillor Costin added: “It is essential that all this damaging behaviour is controlled and stopped.
“It is something that needs to be tackled firmly and effectively so that the situation is prevented from getting worse and is stopped from adversely interfering with family and community life.
“Please help the police by sharing information with them.”
Chief Inspector Leadbeatter added that police officers are ‘fully committed to engaging with partners in tackling crime in Horsham and have apologised for the oversight’.