556 stop and searches in 2021 across Sussex, leading to 405 arrests

Thursday, 31 March 2022 08:07

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

The Sussex Police Specialist Enforcement Unit carried out the stop and searches in 2021 with the team identifying more than 280 traffic offences, including drink-and-drug driving and people driving while disqualified or uninsured.

The figures were shared by commissioner Katy Bourne during a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel on Friday (March 25). The unit, which was set up in January 2021, targets criminality on the county’s roads.

A report to the meeting said that in one year the unit had seized more than £700,000 of drugs, more than £300,000 in cash and more than 100 weapons.

The team identified more than 280 traffic offences, including drink-and-drug driving and people driving while disqualified or uninsured.

More than 220 vehicles were seized. The disruption of serious and organised crime is one of three priorities set out in Mrs Bourne’s Police and Crime Plan. It covers areas such as homicide, serious violence and knife crime, drugs and county lines, modern slavery, child sexual exploitation and abuse, and fraud and cyber-crime.

When it came to serious violence and knife crime, the force’s work was aided by a grant of just over £600,000 from the Home Office.

A report to the panel said: “This funding was used to enhance the operational policing response to incidents of violence across the county, after Sussex was one of 18 police force areas in England and Wales identified as having an increased risk of serious violence.”

Between April 1 2021 and January 31 this year, the money, from the Serious Violence Fund, helped to provide an additional 1,294 days of policing in Sussex – equivalent to 3,080 hours.

Mark Streater, chief executive for the office of Sussex PCC, said knife crime was ‘a huge issue and concern with the increase of especially young people carrying’.

Looking at the result of the work carried out, the panel was told that more than 100 schools and colleges had received knife crime education lessons.

Some 2,830 knives – and 135 other weapons – were surrendered via amnesty bins.

And more than 200 uniformed and plain clothed patrols of ‘hotspot’ areas were carried out, leading to more than 400 stop and searches, more than 220 arrests and the seizing of more than 185 weapons.

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