In a significant push to bolster community safety, Sussex Police, in collaboration with various partners, have launched innovative schemes in Crawley, marking a notable step in their ongoing efforts to deter crime and strengthen local policing.
Over two action-packed days, the Crawley Neighbourhood Policing Teams introduced the ‘engagement pod’ in High Street alongside the initiative ‘Stronger, Safer, Crawley’. This strategic move aims to enhance police visibility in the area, serving as a deterrent to potential criminal activities and as a base for operations targeting serious and organized crime within the town center.
Highlighting these efforts, a major operation took place on Friday, 26 January, as part of the Neighbourhood Policing Week of Action. Sussex Police joined forces with Trading Standards, HM Revenue & Customs, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), Crawley Borough Council, and specialist search dogs to inspect seven premises in Crawley for illegal tobacco, counterfeit vapes, and other fraudulent goods.
The operation led to the seizure of thousands of pounds worth of illegal cigarettes and vapes, including items suspected of being fraudulently traded, illegally imported, or posing health and safety risks. Additionally, a concealed stash containing £10,000 was discovered and seized by officers. Running concurrently, the ‘Stronger, Safer, Crawley’ operation saw both plain-clothed and uniformed officers patrolling the area, resulting in 11 stop searches and the confiscation of Class A and Class B drugs.
Further extending their community engagement, on Tuesday, 31 January, the engagement pod opened its doors to partners and the public. This initiative, supported by Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council’s Community Safety Team, provided a unique opportunity for residents to interact directly with officers, PCSOs, and county council staff, allowing them to voice concerns and seek advice on safety issues.
Superintendent Nick Dias said: “The multi-functional use of the pod is perfect for what we wanted.
“Residents should be able to go to the pod and see a face if they have any questions. These days show that it won’t just be Sussex Police who will be there for answers, but also representatives from our partners.
“The day of action with Trading Standards was a fantastic result and it shows our commitment to keeping shoppers safe with legal products.”
Councillor Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “As a resident of Crawley and elected member for the area, I am pleased to support the Safer Stronger Crawley initiative that has been running since November 2023 and the actions being taking in the town centre to make it a safer place for people to go about their daily lives.
“The co-ordinated work being done by the County Council’s Trading Standards, Community Safety Team and Early Help Service, alongside Crawley Borough Council Licencing, the Probation Service, and Sussex Police shows what can be done when agencies collaborate and work together for Crawley residents. I look forward to seeing the positive impact Safer Stronger Crawley brings in the coming months.”