During these unprecedented times, all organisations have had to adapt quickly and take responsible steps to slow the spread of Covid-19. This has resulted in many local authorities and councils temporarily shutting some public spaces and outdoor purpose facilities (such as tennis and basketball courts, running tracks and children’s play areas).
There has been widespread messaging from Sussex Police and other partner agencies to deter unnecessary travel to large open areas and local beauty spots. The onus is on all public bodies to take responsibility to minimise avoidable social contact, and travel that is not necessary.
Sussex Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers are conducting regular patrols of these areas to ensure that these restrictions are being adhered to and protect the health of all Wealden residents.
We acknowledge that the decisions to close many public spaces has resulted in many people having to temporarily adapt their routine. Although this may seem a disproportionate step to some, these measures are being taken as part of the effort to save lives.
Sussex Police appeal to everyone to continue to follow the regulations set by the government restrictions and to consider their actions and the likely consequences unnecessary travel will have on themselves, their families and friends and the NHS.
Support for stalking victims to mark national awareness campaign
Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
Statistics show that one in six women and one in 12 men will experience stalking nationally, but this is believed to be grossly underestimated.
And when they become victims, they tend not to report to the police until the 100th incident.
Sussex Police and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner are reminding people of assistance and advice available in addition to expert investigation, in support of National Stalking Awareness Week, 20-24 April, 'See Stalking Clearly', which has an added focus on cyber and online stalking, especially during the current #Covid-19 pandemic.
For those affected by stalking, current isolation as a result of #Covid-19 may mean an increase in stalking online and special advice has been issued by Sussex Police.
The Sussex-based stalking support agency Veritas Justice has seen an increase in reports of online stalking over the past few weeks, which is thought to relate to the current lockdown and isolation as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Help and support from Veritas is available online and on the phone at 01273 234773.
For details of a new online chat facility, funded by the Sussex Police Crime and Commissioner (SPCC) and delivered by Veritas Justice for victims of stalking to easily reach out for help and advice during this time, go to the Veritas website and to the SPCC website.
But always report stalking to the police, who are ready to respond to calls and help victims.
Police are already advising and supporting more stalking victims than ever. As the second highest recorder of stalking offences after the Metropolitan Police, reports in Sussex are up by more than 100% in just three years, with more victims feeling confident to come forward to report offences.
The force recorded 1005 stalking offences in the 12 months to March 2018, 1547 in the 12 months to 31 March 2019, and 2020 in the 12 months to 31 March 2020.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Richards said: “We are committed to continually improving our understanding of stalking and harassment and our response to it.
"We have improved training for officers and staff and ensured specialists are on hand across the county to offer advice and support on a daily basis to keep people safe and feeling safe. We want victims to be confident and know we will take all reports seriously."
As soon as a new law came into effect in January this year, Sussex was the first force in the country to secure court Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs), which run for a minimum of two years. The force has already secured eight SPOs and applications for a further five are due to be heard by courts in Sussex by the end of April. These Orders equip police with valuable powers to better protect victims or anyone connected with them in stalking cases.
Significantly, SPOs enable police to enforce both prohibitions and/or specific requirements.
Mick Richards adds; "During the current #Covid-19 pandemic your safety online is particularly important and there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
"In particular, don’t be tempted to 'block' your caller, delete messages or throw away gifts as they could be used as evidence later on. This might include audio recordings, films or pictures, copies of emails, text messages, screenshots and similar material. You can also keep a log of all the incidents that have occurred.
"Always report it. Getting help early will assist in protecting you. This can be done by contacting us online, by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: "The theme for this week is ‘See Stalking Clearly’ and it’s very pertinent, especially during this crisis, that we all do start to see and take seriously these types of crimes.
“The rise in cyberstalking due to the ‘lockdown’ concerns me deeply. We know all too well that this behaviour causes extreme distress and can unfortunately escalate quickly.
“The severity of risk to a victim is now defined by the amount of time invested by the perpetrator in their obsession. So, with many victims receiving over 100 text messages/emails/phone calls a day, we know that these strong fixations could have a more sinister outcome.
“If you are experiencing behaviour that is Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted or Repeated, then you are being stalked. It is a crime and you will be taken seriously when you ask for help. Please still report to the police and reach out to the team at Veritas Justice, they will both continue to be there for you whenever you need them.”
Claudia Ortiz, founder of Veritas Justice, says: “ For this National Stalking Awareness Week we are focusing on “Seeing Stalking Clearly”. More than ever it is important that stalking victims remain a visible priority during this crisis by enabling them to access the support and advice they need during these challenging times.
"We are already seeing an even more significant shift to cyber and online stalking behaviours, which are having a very negative impact on individuals and families, we are acutely aware that as domestic abuse increases so will stalking, anxiety and isolation, so we hope that the online chat facility will offer additional and flexible support to those affected by this devastating crime.
"Stalkers will continue stalking during lockdown and we will continue working with clients and partners to adapt to the changing landscape. We want to reassure victims that we are still here for them, you don't have to suffer in silence, check out website and chat to us https://veritas-justice.co.uk
"We would like to acknowledge our police partners who continue to respond to stalking incidents in unprecedented circumstances and also thank Katy Bourne and her office for their commitment to improve the lives of victims of stalking."
Background and detailed advice;
If you are being stalked or harassed it is important that you report it. Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
Stalking is when someone shows repeated and unwanted attention towards another person. Often when individual incidents are put together they can reveal a pattern of obsessive behaviour.
Stalking is a crime that is distressing and malicious and is something no one should have to put up with.
Think FOUR. Is the behaviour;
F – fixated
O – obsessive
U – unwanted
R - repeated
Visit the Sussex Police website to learn more about stalking and harassment and how to report this dangerous and debilitating crime.
For further information on local support services go to Safe Space Sussex
You can report stalking or harassment online or by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.
But always call 999 if you are in danger. Our officers and staff will undertake a risk assessment and focus on keeping you safe.
If you would like further information about stalking or harassment, there are several organisations that specialise in providing advice and support to victims.
Veritas is a local organisation which provides advocacy and support for victims of stalking.
The National Stalking Helpline provides advice and guidance to current or previous victims of stalking or harassment and can be contacted on 0808 802 0300.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust provides practical personal safety advice - call them on 020 7091 0014.
Make the right call and help us save lives
Our officers, PCSOs, special constables, volunteers and contact centre staff are engaging with literally thousands of people every day.
Since the government legislation around the Covid-19 outbreak was brought in, we have recorded an increasing number of incident reports from members of the public through our online channels.
Some 65% of online reporting forms last week up until Sunday (12 April) were in relation to suspected/perceived Covid-19 related breaches (2,723 of 4,163 reports). This is nearly twice the percentage of reports compared to the week before (711 of 2,158 reports). They were in relation to reports of individuals, groups and businesses breaching the measures.
Policing as usual continues in Sussex, despite the extraordinary times we are living in. Every contact we receive is assessed and prioritised to ensure we are where we are most needed to keep the public safe.
Chief Superintendent Jo Banks said: “We are in unusual times and as a force we are seeing the impact with a new kind of demand coming via our online reporting system.
Everything that comes into us whether online or via 101/999 will be assessed and prioritised to ensure that we are responding where there is the greatest risk of harm to life or a crime in progress. This does mean that for some less urgent reports you may not see a response immediately, and depending on the severity some issues we can resolve over the phone.
“Our priority is keeping communities safe and feeling safe. So we can respond effectively, we’re asking you to #MakeTheRightCall and to be sure your contact is a policing matter so we can focus our resources on those who genuinely need our help.
“There still remains confusion about what is a policing matter whether related to Covid-19 or not. Some reports or queries into us are answers that can be accessed via the Government website, where there are comprehensive answers to key questions.
“We are hugely grateful for people in the community acting as our extra eyes and ears at this time. We are always here to people to contact us if they need us. Where you feel there are significant breaches of the government guidance to stay at home, then please make us aware, but keep 999 for emergencies only.
“We continue to work 24/7 to protect the public, to protect the NHS and to help save lives. In an emergency, always call 999.”
A burglary occurred on Mottins Hill, Crowborough between 16/04/2020 – 18/04/2020, whereby a garage was broken into, it is currently unconfirmed what has been stolen from the premises (Ref: 47200065249)
A burglary occurred on White Dyke Road, on 24/04/2020 whereby a house was entered and keys stolen from within the premises (Ref: 47200066295)
A burglary occurred in Hailsham, on 20/04/2020 whereby a premises was entered and large machinery has been stolen from within (Ref:47200067373)
An attempted burglary has occurred on Chilsham Lane, Herstmonceux on 20/04/2020, luckily no items were stolen from within (Ref: 47200067373) Help us keep Sussex safe
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org Links and attachments: Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.
Message sent by
Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden team (Police, Prevention team, Sussex)