A POLICE chief says patrols will be stepped up to reassure and protect the public after a spate of violent incidents and killings.

In the past six weeks Sussex Police have launched murder inquiries in Brighton and throughout the county.

Superintendent Ed De La Rue said to have so many serious incidents in such a short space of time is “unusual” but the incidents were not linked.

He said officers were working “around the clock” in response to several incidents.

Examples include Operation Danebridge, which saw the police close the A259 Marine Parade in Brighton for three days after a suspected hit and run on December 1.

There were also incidents such as a double murder at Hazel Way, Crawley Down, where Sandy Seagrave, 76, and 32-year-old teacher Amy Appleton were killed.

Earlier this month police launched a murder inquiry after the body of 24-year-old Billy Henham was found in North Street, Brighton.

Last week, 18-year-old Ollie Wells was stabbed to death in Newhaven.

Supt De La Rue said: “The last few weeks has seen Sussex Police launch several major investigations into violent incidents – which are progressing at pace as our detectives and officers work around the clock.

“Following serious crimes we’ve increased police patrols to provide reassurance to members of the public and we have numerous operations in place as part of our strategy to combat violent crime across the force.”

He said police have campaigns in place to tackle youth violence, with the force getting £1.3 million from the Home Office.

There have also been more than 300 extra patrols at crime hotspots to tackle serious violence and knife crime.

He said: “Clearly any sort of violent crime is a complex issue. The major incidents we’ve seen over the last few weeks such as the double murder investigation at Crawley Downs, the sudden death of a man in Hove following an assault and the death of a man on North Street in Brighton are not linked. These events have happened in circumstances unique to each tragedy and it is unusual to have this number of such serious but unrelated incidents happen in close succession.”