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Call to form a crime action team in Brighton
People in a crime-hit city centre area are being urged to form a group to work with the police.
The community in and around St James’s Street, Brighton, has no “local action team” – a grassroots panel of residents and businesses which sets police priorities.
But officers have been made aware of fears that crime in the area is increasing after a spate of serious cases.
Local action teams are in place all over the city. The community groups meet regularly to hear updates from police on crime in their area and get briefings from other bodies about local issues.
They then set the priorities they want the police to pursue, for example antisocial behaviour, rogue cycling or drug-dealing.
Sergeant Alex Evans said: “It would be great if someone from the community wanted to come forward and set one up.
“It is a platform on which to engage with the community.”
Serious crimes Community activist Chris Cooke ran a local action team for St James’s Street until last year.
But since he stood down to chair the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community safety forum, no-one has taken his place.
This week he sent a list of six recent serious crimes in the area to local officers, based on reports in The Argus.
He told them: “I am very concerned about the deterioration in community safety in our local neighbourhood, it’s now beyond mere “perception”, there is factual evidence that the area is unsafe, particularly on Saturday evenings.
“Residents and businesspeople who live and work in the area have the view that St James’s is going downhill and fast.
“Begging has increased, so has street drinking, people loitering around and causing trouble, shoplifting has rocketed etc. It’s becoming a no-go zone.”
The most recent crime he listed was the Stanley knife attack on a 20-year-old man in Broad Street early on Saturday morning.
Police said the man suffered “life-changing injuries”. A 28-year-old man was arrested and a knife seized.
Sgt Evans said the policing of nightlife in the area would include the issuing of “Section 27” orders, in which officers can require people to move on because they are thought likely to cause alcohol-related trouble.
Information about local action team – www.safeinthecity.info .