Last week I enjoyed meeting up with the new Horsham Neighbourhood Wardens at Horsham District Council and going out with them on patrol.
The wardens provide an extra level of uniformed resource, working alongside the police, council and local residents to address areas of concern. The new wardens are patrolling in the centre of Horsham as well as Forest and Denne. Wardens are also working elsewhere in the District, including Billingshurst.
The Horsham wardens are becoming increasingly well-known and provide a reassuring presence. They can assist the community in a number of ways, such as reducing incidents of criminal and anti-social behaviour by taking enforcement action and issuing Fixed Penalty Notices. Wardens are also able to deal with environmental crime issues, such as littering and dog fouling.
Importantly, wardens are not a replacement for the police. However, their multi-agency approach means that they are able to support all members of the community from those who are vulnerable, younger people, businesses, those at risk of social isolation and those fearful of crime, to find solutions to problems.
Multi-agency working is vital in resolving issues and fighting crime, particularly when dealing with crimes committed by young people and ‘county lines’ drug dealing. I am delighted that the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, with the support of local MPs, has successfully applied for funding from the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund for Sussex Police.
While I am pleased by the funding recognition, in reality it reflects Sussex’s proximity to London and the challenges this poses; specifically in relation to county lines.
In total, Sussex Police has been granted £891,000, funding the establishment of the Sussex Early Intervention Youth Programme.
The aim of the programme is to engage with under 18s who are at risk of committing serious crimes, as well as young people who have come to the police’s attention by committing anti-social behaviour and low level criminality.
The programme will work with a number of agencies and I hope will help reduce incidents associated with anti-social behaviour and drug-related crime, while assisting in refocussing the young people concerned.