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Police urged to fight abuse

ALMOST 2,000 incidents of domestic abuse around the Arun district were reported to police last year.


The total was an increase of more than ten per cent on 2017, the latest police figures show.


In the Bognor Regis area, there were 1,047 incidents. Their continued rise was a cause for concern, a councillor warned.


County councillor Jacky Pembleton (C, Middleton) said she was worried about the seemingly constant climb in the call-outs faced by the police to tackle the crimes.


She told a meeting on Wednesday there had been an extra 11 cases in Middleton in the past year to take the total to 36 for a near 50 per cent increase. Most other areas around the town also experienced more cases.


“I raised this at the last meeting and was told that the increase was because more people were reporting domestic abuse,” she said at the latest meeting of the Joint Western Arun Area Committee.


“I disagree with that. Because of the work I do outside this forum, I think the incidence of domestic abuse is increasing.


“I would like to know why it is going up. I don’t believe it is because people feel better about reporting it. I believe it is increasing and the police need to focus on it.”


The police figures show that the 1,983 reported cases of domestic abuse last year were an increase of 273 on the previous year.


In Hotham ward in the town centre, 147 cases were reported to the police – 38 more than in 2017.


It was a similar situation in Pevensey, with 27 additional cases to take the total to 120.


Sergeant Dave Lyons, of Sussex Police, said: “We want members of the public to report domestic abuse. This is not just happening in Sussex. This is a national situation.


“A victim of domestic abuse suffers on average 43 times before they will report it.


“We take domestic matters very seriously. That wasn’t the case 25 years ago but it is now.”


Cllr Paul English (C, Arun District Council, Felpham E) said the overall crime figures were alarming.


“It was gobsmacking how terrible the figures are. They are still going up in a lot of areas. I do not see much improvement from last time.


“We want to see more police community support officers and more PCs for the £24 a year extra we are paying on a band D property,” he said.


Sgt Lyons said the total number of crimes in 2018 at 10,069 had dropped slightly by 32 incidents compared to the prior year.


“We will note these figures and we will target problem areas. (Chief Constable) Giles York has said there will be an increase in PSCOS and PCs.


“But I don’t know how many we will get,” he said. “We have to remember this area is very safe compared to others.”


Alcohol-related public place violent crimes were among those to increase, while anti-social behaviour and burglary declined.

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