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Police called to hundreds of crimes at Sussex hospitals
Assaults, racial abuse, criminal damage and arson are among scores of crimes reported at hospitals across Sussex.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed Sussex Police were called to investigate 241 incidents in one year.
Other allegations included sexual assault and possession of a weapon.
The most common call outs were for theft, public order offences and common assault.
Several incidents have been linked to people who are drunk or on drugs, and happened at peak times, including Friday nights and weekends.
However the number of cases, which cover the period April 2013 to the end of March, have fallen compared to the year before.
This is in line with a national study published this week, which suggests the number of people needing hospital treatment because of of violent incidents relating to drink is falling.
Most call outs were to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, the busiest in Sussex, which reported 79 incidents compared to 45 at Worthing Hospital and 43 at Eastbourne District General Hospital.
There were 24 reports at the Conquest in St Leonards, 24 at Princess Royal in Haywards Heath and 21 to St Richard's in Chichester.
There were also four calls to Southlands in Shoreham, and one report of an assault on a policeman at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton.
Hospital bosses say the number of police calls is low compared to the thousands of people coming in and out all the time.
However they say all incidents are treated seriously.
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "Our trust does not tolerate any type of crime and all incidents of crime are investigated and reported to the police.
“We have preventative measures in place across all our hospital sites, including on site in-house security officers, CCTV and access door controls.
“All staff receive advice and training on maintaining hospital security and protecting valuable equipment and personal possessions from theft.
“We liaise closely with the police with regard to investigation of crimes and routinely provide all the evidence required, through our internal investigative procedures, to allow the police to charge individuals with those offences.
“More incidents of public order and assaults are prevented or reduced in severity through the swift intervention of our trained security officers.”
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