It is possible to tackle Crowborough’s two major issues simultaneously, according to Sussex’s new police and crime commissioner. Katy Bourne is hoping to tackle anti-social behavior in the region whilst also resisting a rise in council tax fees.
Bourne was victorious in the election, which saw an extremely low turnout – about 16%, or approximately 60,000 people first-choice voters out of a possible 1.2 million – and the Conservative mother of two put this down to certain disillusionment with small-town people. Bourne said the turnout suggested that historically, ‘police priorities’ were too readily focused on cities and larger urban areas, and that smaller towns had been ignored.
Labour’s Daniel Godfrey, Bourne’s closest rival in the recent election, picked up a number of votes along coastal areas whilst the eventual victor found her support base further north in the more rural areas of Sussex.
Mrs Bourne noted that she felt best placed to understand the needs of people in the Wealden district, having grown up in East Grinstead, and said she was more than aware of the major problem of anti-social behaviour, noting the ‘misery’ some people were causing in others lives.
Bourne pointed to the impact and influence of drugs and alcohol, in smaller towns and villages in particular, but said that her ‘police and crime plan’ was well geared towards supporting local police forces and would help them achieve success in tackling these issues effectively.
The police do need support, however, and are unable to tackle these problems without support from a number of bodies. Bourne’s role will include the bringing together of groups including local schools and authorities, Neighbourhood Watch groups and the probation service.