Police have stepped up patrols in Eastbourne town centre in a bid to tackle street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour (ASB) during the festive period.
Officers and partners have been meeting at Bankers Corner every day during December as part of the force’s Op Confront campaign focusing on public safety, preventing ASB and detecting crime.
The patrols are an opportunity to engage with the community, respond to any concerns and address any inappropriate behaviour.
Sarah Taylor, Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for Eastbourne, said: “The town centre has seen an increase in anti-social gathering, drinking and begging. This will only increase as the area becomes busy with pre-Christmas activity.
“Each year we plan town centre patrols during the festive season for public re-assurance, with a focus on shoplifting and anti-social behaviour. This year is no different, the emphasis will be on public safety and preventing crime and disorder.
“This operation is taking us back to basic policing, knowing your community, knowing the offenders and engaging at an early stage to set out our position.
“It is necessary to know the individuals involved in anti-social behaviour and take positive action to ensure that the town centre remains a safe place.
“With this in mind we need to be in amongst these groups, not just for enforcement but to engage and recognise the signs to enable us to protect the vulnerable.”
Insp Taylor said it is important the community feel safe when they are shopping this time of year.
Insp Taylor added: “The street community are three times more likely to be victims of crime and their groups are made up of predatory individuals who will exploit others for their own gain.
“So far this campaign has been hugely successful with multiple arrests, many people housed during the cold weather, and Community Protection Warnings issued to those suitable to receive one.”
The campaign comes after a Section 35 dispersal order was put in place for Eastbourne town centre over the weekend. This meant someone given notice under the order could be dispersed from the area for a set period of time and would commit an arrestable offence if they returned.
That is just one of the policing powers available to officers to use to prevent further anti-social behaviour from impacting on an area.
Anyone who has concerns around crime and disorder is asked to contact the neighbourhood policing team online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.