Crime in Chichester district is reviewed

Police officers arrest the man for theft.
Police officers arrest the man for theft.

CRIME across the district was down 6.2 per cent from 2011 to 2012 – but there are still concerns.

Chichester District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee will meet today (November 7), to discuss the progress and vision of the Chichester Community Safety Partnership (CSP) – which tries to decrease crime.

In a report set to go before the committee, it states that although there was a reduction in crime as a whole, theft, violent crime and criminal damage still make up the largest portion of crimes committed in the district.

Burglary in people’s homes is a particular concern as it actually saw a ten per cent rise from 2011 to 2012, but a Chichester District Council spokeswoman said there is already work being done to tackle the problem.

“Additional police patrols were carried out to tackle a district-wide increase in burglaries in the early part of 2012 and this led to a significant reduction in crime.

“This year there has been a higher than average detection rate for burglaries.”

Chichester East and Selsey suffered the most, with burglaries from dwellings, with 20 incidents each in 2012.

As well as burglary in people’s homes, criminal damage and drug-related crimes also saw a rise.

Chichester South had the most sexual offences, with 13 incidents in 2012, and it also had the most violent crime with 218 incidents.

“Chichester South, which has the majority of the city’s entertainment and business areas, has a higher concentration of people and higher reported levels of some crimes,” said the council spokeswoman.

“Initiatives such as the City Angels and partnership work with licensed premises, has significantly reduced public place violence and provided a reassuring presence.”

From 2011 to 2012, the level of crime in Midhurst went up 31 per cent – by far the highest rise in the district.

The council spokeswoman said this could be due to the north of the district having rural and isolated areas, ‘so there is less surveillance’.

Other places where there was a rise in crime included Selsey South, Sidlesham, Harting, Plaistow and Stedham, where there was a slight rise.

In many other areas, crime actually went down, including Chichester city, The Witterings and Bosham – which had 48 less incidents than the previous year.

At today’s meeting, the committee members are expected to scrutinise the performance of the CSP and to give an input into the direction of the partnership’s efforts next year. Members will also identify areas for concern for further review.

“The Chichester district is a safe place to live and work with lower than average crime rates,” said the council spokeswoman, ahead of the meeting.

“Crime figures and trends vary year on year. For example, they can vary depending on the behaviour of individual offenders or a series of offences committed by criminals who may target particular areas.

The overview and scrutiny committee meeting will be held in Committee Room One at East Pallant House in Chichester from 10am.

See a full report on the meeting in next week’s Observer (November 14).

What is the Community Safety Partnership?

The partnership fulfils the statutory duty of local authorities and the police to cooperate and audit crime in the district.

As part of this, the group puts together a strategy to reduce crime in the area.

The group consist of Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, Sussex Police, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, West Sussex Primary Care Trust, the Probation Service and West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team. Other organisations which get involved are the magistrates court, Chichester Business Against Crime, the Council for Voluntary Services, Neighbourhood Watch and Residential Social Landlords.

The partnership must conduct an annual strategic assessment and make a plan for the area.