SENIOR police officer Kris Ottery has told Bognor Regis councillors and residents: “We are listening to you’.
Chief Inspector Ottery updated the town council with the police’s actions to answer the people’s worries about crime in the area.
He said: “A high priority for us is to continue to tackle the issue of drugs in Bognor Regis, particularly in relation to county drug lines, where gangs in London send people down here to ‘cuckoo’ addresses and exploit our vulnerable people and drug users for the purposes of selling drugs.
“This tends to involve weapons, which is why it is so important to us.
“We do a great deal of work in the community safeguarding people. In the last two weeks, we have been to three different addresses and, on each occasion, taken four to seven people out of them for class A drugs offences.
“On each occasion, people from London county lines have been in those premises.”
Ch Insp Ottery is Sussex Police’s district commander for Arun and Chichester.
He also told the town council at its meeting on Monday about a multi-agency action group which had been formed to address community and business concerns about the increasing number of town centre rough sleepers and incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Key representatives from Bognor Regis, Arun and West Sussex councils, Sussex Police and the Bognor Regis business improvement district (BID) will meet next Monday to put together an action plan to tackle the situation.
Paul Wells, the BID’s chairman, said businesses were suffering as a result of the deteriorating situation in the town centre ‘where both anti-social and criminal behaviours and the appearance of the main shopping areas made the town centre feel unwelcoming’.
Arun’s community manager, Georgina Bouette, said the meeting was a chance to find solutions to a complex situation that supported vulnerable people and backed the wider community.
Town councillor Steve Goodheart (I, Hotham) used the town council meeting to ask three questions related to rough sleepers and the need for action.
The situation was having a negative effect on the town for everyone and needed to be resolved, he said.
He asked for a location to be found for accommodation for the individuals and storage for their belongings.
A statement from Sussex Police, issued with its weekly crime summary yesterday, said: “We are aware of your concerns about aggressive street beggars and recent anti-social behaviour in Bognor Regis town centre.
“One individual who was responsible for a number of these incidents is receiving support from social services and has been banned from the town centre.”