CRIME and anti-social behaviour is more of a problem now than it was a year ago, survey results suggest.

More than half of people who responded to the Sussex Police People's Voice survey raised this concern, a report said.

A similar amount noted seeing a uniformed police presence less often than they did a year ago.

Some 1,151 people who signed up to be on the People's Voice panel filled out the survey. Anyone in Sussex can sign up for free to give their views on policing.

The findings of the first questionnaire since the panel was launched said 63 per cent felt visibility of police had got worse in the county and 68 per cent said the same of uniformed officers on patrol.

The majority, 91 per cent, think it is important to have regular uniformed police presence on foot where they live but 67 per cent claimed to have not seen a police officer on foot where they live in the last year. And 72 per cent said they would not know the name of one or more of the PCSOs or police officers in their local teams.

Where change in the service by police in the last year was noted, 35 per cent felt the level of service had got worse. Over half did not feel informed about policing and just 39 per cent felt the police provided value for money.

The report said the findings suggested a trend that those who had frequent contact with neighbourhood police officers were more likely to speak highly of the team.

Some 51 per cent were satisfied with their neighbourhood police team and 44 per cent would speak highly of them. Police were generally described as "helpful", "approachable" and "competent".

Hayley Hobdell, who previously claimed crime was "rife" near her gift shop Pack of Cards gift shop in The Broadway, Whitehawk Road, Brighton, said: "I completely agree with these figures because I have seen it. We have been here for 20 years. When we did have a PCSO, it did make a difference. I've not seen one for about two years. People did think twice before committing an offence. Just seeing them gives you a sense of security. It's definitely got worse over the last couple of years. I've given up reporting stuff."

The force was generally less likely to use public views to set or inform priorities and apologise when it got things wrong, the survey said.

Kevin Standing agreed. The 58-year-old's Jaguar was taken from his driveway in Old Farm Road, Patcham, on Saturday February 25. When he called police he claimed he was told to investigate the crime himself. Chief constable Giles York stood by the force's response, that officers would investigate where there are lines of enquiry. Mr Standing said: "Right from the start I got the feeling they weren't interested and that didn't change all the way through."

A police spokeswoman said: "It has never been more valuable to understand what is important to people as we move through unprecedented change to our service."

She said officers were working hard to tackle anti-social behaviour with recent crackdowns in St Nicholas churchyard, Brighton, and St Leonards.

Reports of such offences fell by more than 5,000 in the last year from 45,873 in 2015/16 to 40,786 in 2016/17.

Assistant Chief Constable Laurence Taylor urged residents to report crime so the force could "direct resources to where they are needed the most". He added: "PCSOs are working flexibly alongside officers, as part of a larger team, identifying the most appropriate ways to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and preventing crime before it occurs.

"They have the support of investigations and response teams.

"[The teams] focus on tackling local concerns rather than randomly patrolling, which is known to have little impact on crime. Visibility is not necessarily effective in dealing with the changing crime types.

"Officer accessibility is key and communities can be assured our policing teams will always be there when needed."

Read the full results by clicking here