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The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Latest Update



This week we have seen national headlines about shoplifting and what Government, businesses and police can do to tackle it.

In my role as National Lead for PCCs on Business & Retail Crime for the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, I have been interviewed several times already about the work I am leading on that combines retail industry knowledge with law enforcement in a unique partnership to get a national picture of the organised crime groups behind much of the problem. Look out for the official launch of our Pegasus initiative in October.

I have been urging my PCC colleagues to make business crime and shoplifting in particular a priority in their Police and Crime Plans and to establish business partnerships in their areas.

Too many shoplifters feel they can steal without consequence but staff tell me that it makes them fearful to come to work and customers say it puts them off shopping. That’s why I'm encouraging police forces to take shoplifting more seriously because the negative impact goes far beyond the loss of stock.

In 2022/23, there was a 46% increase in shoplifting reports to Sussex Police. Deputy Chief Constable McLaren said that the force does its utmost to provide a proportionate response to all the calls received either via 999, 101 or online. I am encouraged to learn that with the increase in reports of business crime, Sussex Police has managed to achieve a 55% increase in detections over the previous year. Our dedicated Business Crime Team are developing good relationships with businesses and encouraging the submission of better evidence to support charges.



Performance and Accountability Meeting



At today's Performance & Accountability Meeting I highlighted that the Home Secretary made a pledge that all police forces must investigate every theft and follow all “reasonable lines of inquiry”. I asked how Sussex Police would rise to this challenge and what determines when police investigate incidents. DCC McLaren reassured me that the force’s existing policy was already to investigate all cases where reasonable lines of enquiry exist.

The end of this month marks a “check point” for police forces who have recruited additional police officers funded by the Government’s Uplift programme so we scrutinised officer numbers and plans to meet the Government’s target of 3,205. Chief Constable Shiner said by the end of the month, the force would have a headcount of 3,234 police officers. You can hear the Chief's response to this in today's Performance and Accountability Meeting.



Katy Bourne OBE


Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

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