Latest figures released this week show Sussex Police now has more officers than in 2012 in what is very welcome news.
An increase in the council tax precept for the police in Sussex has led to 250 additional officers. The Government’s £18 billion National Uplift Programme has funded a further 429 Sussex officers since 2020 – making a total of 679 additional police officers including ones based here in Eastbourne and Willingdon.
This will make a difference. Residential burglary in Sussex, for example, is down 40% compared to just 21% nationally. I thank all our officers for the work they do to keep us safe. Knocking on doors, at my surgeries and through residents’ surveys I know we must double down on anti-social behaviour. Having additional resources and funding is key.
Sewage and small boats both made the order paper in Parliament this week, both important issues for Eastbourne. Water companies need to improve their record when it comes to sewage spills and ministers and myself are committed to ensuring they do so.
However, despite those who think this is easy to achieve, I say again it is not. It will cost billions and take time because overhauling a Victorian sewage system is very challenging. If we stopped storm overflows right now, on rainy days, what you flush would come right back at you and sewage would soon be in our homes, gardens, schools and hospitals.
I will continue to work with the Environment Agency, local authorities, pressure groups and Southern Water until we hit an excellent rating for our seawater quality.
On small boats, the Illegal Immigration Bill has successfully passed to the House of Lords.
Next week will bring both the election of a new town council for Eastbourne and the coronation of King Charles III, a huge day in our country’s history – the first in 70 years.
In preparation, the town centre is now sporting union banners and bunting and although there isn’t a town centre street party as there was with the Jubilee, there are a number of local events dotted around.
There’s a special coronation website (coronation.gov.uk) That’s where I first saw Holy Trinity’s coronation festival of flowers. Can I encourage all our local organisers to upload their details too? The Coronation and bank holiday weekend is a wonderful opportunity to bring us all together. Send me the details and I will promote too.