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Community News & Views | £22m government fund share

SUSSEX could be in for a share of a £22m government fund aimed at steering young people away from serious crime.


Katy Bourne, the Sussex police and crime commissioner, has submitted a bid for funding from the early intervention youth fund for work to prevent young people getting involved in serious violence.


The bid was outlined as the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the work of Mrs Bourne, heard a report on the work the police are doing with schools and other educational establishments.


The report outlined a seven per cent increase in recorded crimes relating to educational establishments. This included a 45 per cent rise in sexual offences.


Mark Streater, chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said the total represented an increase of 0.12 crimes a school.


The increase in sexual offences was down to schools being more pro-active in reporting cases of sexting, in which young people sent explicit images of themselves on mobile phones.


The panel heard Sussex Police had appointed 22 youth prevention officers to strengthen links between the schools and colleges in which they spend at least a quarter of their time.


“The emphasis is very much on trying to avoid the criminalisation of children rather than schools just asking for police interventions that tip them into the criminal justice system,” said Mr Streater.


“If our bid for government funding is successful, hopefully we will be able to do far more at an early stage to prevent young people being drawn into really problematic areas.”


During the meeting, at County Hall in Lewes, Mrs Bourne also updated the panel about a new way of handling police complaints from next April. This would see Mrs Bourne, rather than the Chief Constable, have the final say in appeals against the result of complaints about the police.

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