Violent crime is on the rise in Bognor, figures show

TACKLING a rise in crime in Bognor Regis is problematic because there is no obvious cause, police have revealed.

The incidents of attacks on individuals has passed 1,000 in the past nine months, the latest figures show.

Sussex Police has recorded 1,016 of the assaults and similar offences between April 1 and January 31. This compares to 726 – for an increase of 40 per cent in the same period in the prior year.

Inspector Marc Clothier presented the statistics at a meeting last week.

He said: “These crimes are happening very much across the board. There has been a lot of research into them but they are not due to any specific trend, like Friday or Saturday nights.

“It’s very random – public places, private dwellings every day of the week. There is no perceived increase in what we are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. It’s very difficult to tackle in a specific way.”

A further detailed investigation of the crimes would take place at the end of this month, he told the Joint western Arun area committee’s latest meeting.

Jacky Pendleton, a Middleton parish councillor, said she was concerned by the statistics.

“Is this happening in public places or private dwellings, with domestic violence?,” she said. “What are you doing about it?”

Bognor Regis Town Council member Paul Wells said: “There is always going to be risk that crime rises when there are cutbacks and a lack of public resources. The situation could go down a downward slope. That’s my concern for the future.”

The area in which most attacks have happened is Marine with 272 incidents. This is an increase of 63 on a year earlier. Hotham had 175 incidents, up 43, and Bersted 141, a rise of 67.

The increasing number of violent crimes was largely responsible for a rise in the number of overall crimes around Bognor in the period.

The total climbed to 3,246 – or 356 extra offences from the previous year.

Theft and handling stolen goods was the next most frequent crime with 939 offences, up just eight, with criminal damage third with an increase of 38 up to 539.

Insp Clothier said: “There has been a slight increase in our performance figures. That is a trend that is across the force. The majority of that increase has been in violence against the person.

“There has been a lot of work done to look at that across the force. It is not specific to Arun.”

He said the reason for the rise could be linked to the better recording of crime which had occurred in the past year from 83 per cent to 98 per cent.

“That is a big increase and could possibly account for a significant proportion of that increase in crime.”

Incidents of some crimes dropped in the period. They included possession of drugs, drug trafficking, fraud and forgery and auto theft.