A LACK of bobbies on the beat has led to some areas being 'no go zones', it has been claimed.

Concerns have been raised that cuts to frontline services and more deskbound officers fighting cybercrime has led to whole neighbourhoods rarely seeing uniformed officers.

The number of police community support officers (PCSOs), officers without the power of arrest, have been slashed by 40%.

The issue arose as it was revealed a supermarket in Brighton had been hit by shop lifters 40 times in just two months.

Management at The Co-op in Western Road are said to be frustrated with the lack of police presence after brazen thieves strolled into the store and took alcohol from under the noses of helpless and frightened staff.

Norfolk Square residents have also complained about a “steep upsurge” in anti-social behaviour which has turned their streets into what they describe as a “no-go area”where drunken yobs fight, smash bottles, openly take drugs and use the streets as a latrine.

Now Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and Sussex Police chief constable Giles York are being urged by Green ward councillors Phelim MacCafferty and Ollie Sykes along with council lead for neighbourhoods Emma Daniel for a greater PCSO presence on the streets.

Ms Bourne told The Argus she had real concerns about the residents' fears.

Similar concerns have also been raised in Portslade by local Labour councillors Peter Atkinson and Penny Gilbey following the reduction of PCSOs from three to one.

Cllr Sykes said as well as a 40 per cent reduction to PCSOs across the force, the situation was exacerbated by officers becoming increasingly desk-bound and reactive rather offering a constant public reassurance.

He added: “When we are told that they don’t have any resources, we say that is not an answer.

“If we don’t have resources to do our job with the police or council, then its need senior officers, Katy Bourne and senior politicians to ensure that we do or else things will just fall apart.”

At Thursday’s meeting of the full city council, Brunswick Town Association chairman Sir Ron de Witt said Norfolk Square was now designated an antisocial behaviour hotspot by police.

He told how one young mother had opened her door one morning to find addicts injecting drugs on her doorstep and while drug needles and spoons littered community gardens.

He said one elderly and long-term Brunswick Road resident no longer felt safe in her neighbourhood after dark.

Complaints have also been made about police response with one resident told no-one would attend an incident because the nearest available car was in Rottingdean while another was told an incident of a drug dealer selling in the street was not a 999 issue.

Sir Ron said the residential area had 67 bars and shops selling alcohol within half a square mile and called for the council to take a firmer stance on drinking in public and enforcement of alcohol licences.

Inspector Paul Ransome said: “Sussex Police area aware of public concerns over recent incidents within Norfolk Square, Brunswick and Adelaide areas along Western Road.

"Many of these incidents are unrelated but will be considered as part of wider problem solving work within the Neighbourhood Policing Team.”