Hello, In April I awarded a three-year £200,000 contract to the Sussex Mediation Alliance to provide an alternative to the criminal justice route for neighbourhood disputes. The group now receives referrals from Sussex Police and works to reduce conflict between parties, helping to lessen the burden on police time and resources. They offer two different types of resolutions: mediation and conflict coaching. Mediation is a restorative practice that allows each person to explain how they are affected by what is happening and to hear how their actions are affecting others. Conflict coaching is an approach used when mediation is not possible, helping to build strategies to manage the situation. In recent months there have been heightened tensions within local communities and the frustrations of lockdown have led to more heated neighbourhood disputes – with the service seeing a 196% increase in referrals. Undoubtedly, this has been a challenging time for everyone and I’m pleased that the Alliance has been able to support communities in conflict, easing their situation and ensuring that police officers’ time is spent more effectively dealing with local criminals. Due to current restrictions mediators are providing support via telephone and video conference. All services are working to resume face to face meetings – you can find out more here. For ideas on how to respond to neighbour disputes watch this short, animated video. Road safety survey results Results from the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners’ road safety survey were released this week. A total of 66,266 people responded, with Sussex making it into the top five areas to respond nationally. 74% of Sussex residents said they saw road traffic offences on a daily or weekly basis. 70% either agreed or strongly agreed that fixed penalty notices for road traffic offences like speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt should be increased and 89% of respondents want some of the money raised through fixed penalty notices reinvested into enforcement. I would like to thank those who took the time to have their say. Not only do we now have national evidence to bring to Government and influence change but I also have feedback locally to present to the Chief Constable, with 82% of local respondents calling for more enforcement. We know that: some drivers have been using the roads as ‘racetracks’; illegally modified vehicles are causing noise pollution in our neighbourhoods; and anti-social driving is worse than ever. Sussex Police will be continuing to strengthen their roads policing units and these results will inform the work they do with partners on successful engagement, education and enforcement campaigns to tackle the problems. I will now be joining PCCs nationally to lobby for a rise in the level of fixed penalty notices for speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt and will call for revenues raised to be reinvested in local area road safety initiatives and roads policing. It was a privilege for me to be invited to open the Alice Ruggles Trust conference on stalking yesterday. So little is currently known about stalking of, and by, adolescents and it was interesting to be presented with recent research into stalking victimisation and perpetration reported by teenagers. This is ground-breaking research which highlights the impact of stalking and finds ways to stop fixated, obsessive and unwanted behaviour at the earliest possible stage. To learn more about the Trust and the work they are doing click here.
Katy Katy Bourne OBE Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner