THE CITY centre should not be viewed as a destination for criminals to commit their crimes, a police chief has said.

Chief Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, the new divisional commander for Brighton and Hove, told The Argus he is keen to assure people living in the city that so-called “no go areas” and issues of drug dealing, alcoholism and graffiti will be dealt with.

It comes after Brighton and Hove City councillors toured Old Steine Gardens amid claims it had become “the most dangerous place in the city” and an “no-go area.”

The Argus: Old Steine Gardens has been described as a "no-go area"Old Steine Gardens has been described as a "no-go area"

Mr Burtenshaw said: “There are some no-go areas for criminals and that’s my job to make it really hostile for them.

“I don’t want Brighton to feel like a place people think they can come to commit crime.

“Part of my job is to make sure I’m steering my teams in the right direction to really get hard on the criminals, but actually use some of our diversion schemes where people are suffering from alcoholism and mental health.

“It’s not just about punishments, it’s about making sure someone could be put on a pathway into treatment.

The Argus:

“I have vast experience in policing and actually, my job is to stop those people from feeling like there are no go areas in Brighton.”

Sussex Police recently opened applications for new police officers as part of its commitment to bolster officer numbers across the county

Mr Burtenshaw said seeing more officers on patrol in the city will help to increase trust and confidence in the police and encourage people to report instances of crime.

He said: “I am telling you, we will be out there. As we recruit more officers, we can get more and more people out there on the streets. More and more visibility.

“It’s all about protecting the community, catching criminals and delivering that outstanding service.

“I can’t police Brighton and Hove and my staff can’t police Brighton and Hove without the community.

“The old phrase that the community are police, and the police are the community is true.

“We need them as eyes and ears. We need them to trust when something is not right to call us, even from the smallest thing to the biggest event, we need that trust and confidence in policing."

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