Early November saw Sussex Police run its bi-annual burglary prevention and awareness campaign under the banner of Operation Magpie, providing advice to residents on securing their property.
During the week officers undertook days of action in rural communities, which can be more vulnerable to burglary.
In the Chichester district, rural crime Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and prevention teams visited Loxwood and Southbourne, where they spoke to residents at length about crime prevention and security , and handed out advisory leaflets.
On Friday (1 November) In the wake of recent burglaries, Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner and Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne met up with the new rural crime PCSO Olivia Clinton to patrol Hartfield, part of Wealden district. They were joined by other PCSOs and officers as part of a day of action.
At both locations the day saw high-visibility patrols in potentially vulnerable areas and areas affected by recent crime. Local businesses were visited and offered one-to-one advice on how best to secure property. Rural PCSOs also visited farms and villages to provide guidance and free property marking for vehicles and high-value equipment.
One visit was to the Ashdown Forest Centre, scene of a recent break-in, where the team carried out property marking with DNA kits. These provide instant identification of stolen property and are particularly useful for repeat victims or those deemed vulnerable to burglary and theft.
Following the days of action, people will continue to see more PCSOs within their community. Since Monday 4 November they have been given responsibility for specific areas within Sussex, to which they will be linked by name. The aim is to enhance local policing countywide and to raise officers’ profiles among residents.
This process will continue to be rolled out over the coming months as additional PCSOs are recruited and deployed. This is in addition to six new rural crime PCSOs providing specialist support.
Sussex Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: ” It was great to get out and about with the prevention team, and the area’s new rural crime PCSO for Operation Magpie to talk to residents in our rural communities. Burglary can cause victims long-lasting suffering, and in rural areas it can be damaging to not only their homes, but their livelihoods.
“The prevention of these crimes is key to keeping our communities safe, so it is important we continue to work closely with the public. With the launch of the rural crime PCSO team and the allocation of a named PCSO for each area, we can further help to prevent people from becoming victims of burglary in the first place.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne added: ” Burglary is one of the top concerns for Sussex residents, especially those in more rural, isolated locations. It was great to have the opportunity to join a dedicated rural PCSO on patrol with officers, offering practical advice to keep residents and businesses safe in the future.
“The police visibility in our communities that PCSOs provide not only boosts public confidence but also acts as a deterrent for criminals.”