I have identified three key issues which will shape my manifesto. These issues are: Alcohol & Drugs; Abuse, Domestic Violence and Hate Crimes; and Anxiety and Fear of Crime.
Do read below, but also let me have your responses by taking part in my survey
Alcohol and Drugs – A focus on education & treatment to help reduce crime as well as campaigning for intelligent licensing reforms - our society is impacted by alcohol and drugs including sedatives in many ways and dealing effectively with the results of their use, as well as controlling their availability and pricing where appropriate is essential. At the root of many crimes lies a dependency on substances including alcohol, and the chaotic lifestyle of some addicts also leads to additional criminal activity.
On Wednesday 22nd February I attended a briefing on Alcohol services in East Sussex by @action for change who are providing self referral services across the County. They have been working with the NHS to target individuals who attend A&E services in their area on a regular basis with alcohol related issues and provide them with treatment. Over a 3 month period the work reduced costs to A&E of £170,000, yet it only cost £17,000 to provide this service. This is a great example of how the voluntary sector and statutory sector can work together to reduce pressure on all services and cut costs for the taxpayer.
Drug and Alcohol services:
Abuse, Domestic Violence and Hate Crimes – A commitment to provide the best services possible across the whole of Sussex. There are many forms of abuse and hate crimes which impact Sussex. Protecting those who are vulnerable and sending a clear message that abuse will not be tolerated is vital. We must also ensure that the criminal justice system in all of its forms is sensitive to those who have been abused and makes adequate provision for their needs.
On Thursday 23rd February I attended the launch of the WISE project’s DVD (Spuds WISE words) which will be installed at the Arrivals lounge in Gatwick Airport and used in schools and other settings. It is clear that many people who suffer abuse have a poor experience of the Courts system, despite the good work carried out in previous years. It is vital that we constantly strive to improve this for all those involved. On the 11th June I attended a training session by Mencap to inform Police Officers who have been appointed as Disability Liaison Officers. I have also been meeting with a number of of charities that specialise in helping victims of Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse.
Anxiety and Fear of Crime – Celebrating the low levels of crime in Sussex and developing innovative ways of reassuring communities - the incidents of crime in Sussex are thankfully rare and impact only a small proportion of our population. It is vital that we employ our crime fighting resources in the most effective manner to address all aspects of criminal behaviour whilst also finding creative ways of reassuring the population that Sussex is a relatively safe environment for them to live and work in. Some residents have a disproportionate fear of crime and I will identify a number of initiatives in my manifesto to help reduce this for residents who are able to participate.