On the Beat with Hastings District Commander Mark Ling

District Commander Mark Ling
District Commander Mark Ling

THE New Year brings some good news on crime.

Overall crime continues to fall across Hastings and during the last year we have continued to see reductions in all crime areas.

Crime reduction over the last seven years in Hastings is very impressive and is currently at an all time low. Since 2003 crime is down by 4,347 offences - 34 per cent.

The biggest reductions have been in burglary of homes and theft from vehicles, both down by almost 70 per cent.

These are significant reductions and testament to the determined hard work of everyone from the Safer Hastings Partnership. Our detections rates across the board are still the best in Sussex meaning more victims of crime are getting justice.

There are however challenging times ahead and we need to make some tough choices. That said our neighbourhood policing model in Hastings will remain which means our dedicated neighbourhood policing teams will continue to work with the community tackling the issues that matter to you.

We are currently identifying our priorities for our next performance plan year starting on April 1. As part of this process a ‘meet the people event’ was recently held in Priory Meadow.

This gave people an opportunity to meet members of the Safer Hastings Partnership including the neighbourhood policing teams. As a result we were able to establish what people’s priorities and concerns are and shape our future plans and activity

We are currently training our officers in community resolution, which is where victims can help police make an instant decision about how a person should make amends for his or her actions. For example, a local person recently caught shoplifting has completed some voluntary work, as the victim felt this was more appropriate reparation than going through the court system.

We believe community resolution is a return to discretion and common sense policing that puts victims first by giving them the opportunity to help decide the best form of reparation for the offence. We will still deal with serious offences in the appropriate manner.

This month saw the conviction of a 17-year-old youth for an armed robbery at the Co-op in London Road, St Leonards, in September last year. This type of offence involving a firearm remains rare in Hastings however when it does occur we do all we can to ensure the offender is brought to justice.

This young man is now starting a two-year and-nine-month stint in custody and the length of the custodial sentence for such a young person demonstrates how serious the courts view these types of crimes.

Hastings Police are now on twitter. You can follow us on @Hastings_police. We will give updates on what we are doing and advice on community safety issues. We will also be using it to appeal for information to catch criminals and solve crimes.