On Thursday, I hosted an event at my office with participants from my Safer in Sussex Community Fund (SISCF). The fund provides financial support grants of up to £5,000 to local organisations and projects that aim to reduce crime and improve community safety.
Since I set up the SISCF, I have been able to give over £2million to support over 500 projects. Having seen many of the projects in action, I can truly say the work they do to keep Sussex safe is outstanding.
At our celebration event, we heard from a variety of fantastic organisations who told us how the funding has helped their projects grow and develop.
One of the recipients who attended the event was the Y.E.S Project (Youth Empowered by StreetDance). They told us how 89% of young people who attend their dance sessions say it builds their confidence with 77% of their young people not having access to these types of sessions outside their school.
Y.E.S dance sessions are targeted at young people from deprived backgrounds or in difficult circumstances and give them an opportunity to learn new skills and even provide the chance to gain qualifications in leadership.
We also heard from other unique and empowering projects including: those who support elderly residents in particular safeguarding them from fraudsters; projects which provide opportunities to children and young people through sports; outdoor activities and music lessons; services that support those who are homeless and organisations such as the NSPCC who lead on school safety sessions.
It is always good to hear from the projects that I am able to fund and by bringing the people behind this invaluable work together, it provides a chance for them and us to share best practice and experiences.
You can find out more about my Safer in Sussex Community fund on my website.
An update on the Safer Sussex Business Partnership
This month marks the four-year anniversary of the first Safer Sussex Business Partnership (SSBP) meeting which I convened in Lewes. On Monday I chaired its most recent meeting where a wide range of businesses – including national companies such as NEXT, John Lewis and Primark, along with many local representatives - met around the table and online.
It is a mark of the progress made by the SSBP that membership has now expanded to include so many partners. Our original aims included helping police to gain a truer picture of retail crime; enabling businesses to report crime to the police more easily and share information more effectively; and helping victims of retail crime have better access to support.
This work has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past four years. The establishment by Sussex Police of the Business Crime Team – consisting of an inspector, a sergeant and ten specialist investigators – is testament to how seriously the force now takes the task of tackling retail and business crime.
At Monday’s meeting we heard that, when the team are involved in the investigation process, the solved rate goes to 75%. This is hugely encouraging and far better than the national solved rate for many other crimes but, as I said at the meeting, our partnership ambition will always be to reach for 100%.
Katy Bourne OBE
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner