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Sussex Police Federation

Officers left exhausted as crime returns to pre-lockdown levels

19 November 2020

Police officers are exhausted, working longer shifts and missing out on days off, the Chair of Sussex Police Federation has said.

Daren Egan was speaking after Chief Constable Jo Shiner revealed that crime in Sussex has returned to pre-lockdown levels.

Daren said: “The Chief Constable has a difficult job to do policing the lockdown measures, particularly as crime levels are now back to pre-lockdown levels, with some crimes such as fraud and domestic abuse having risen. The additional burden of Covid restrictions including spontaneous and reactive incidents is placing additional pressure on front line officers.

“There are no extra police officers on the ground. This means officers are working longer shifts and having to work their days off. Officers are tired. The very nature of policing puts frontline police officers more at risk of Covid infection due to the difficulties of not being able maintain social distancing. Their choice is taken away when apprehending criminals, which is something that officers and their loved ones accept without complaint.”

As well as lockdown breaches, the force is battling county lines drug dealing, romance fraud and rural crime.

Daren added: “Sussex Police officers will continue to protect their communities, engaging, explaining and encouraging members of the public, enforcement being the last option for those with a blatant disregard for the legislation and others’ wellbeing. The Police Federation is asking the public to do their part, adhere to the lockdown restrictions, support the police and protect their protectors.”

Jo Shiner said: “Levels of crime are back to where they were before Covid but our officers are out there making sure we are tackling those everyday incidents that impact the most on our communities. We want to catch criminals, and bring to justice those who bring harm and fear into our communities. We will continue to do that, and we have dedicated enforcement teams within the force to support that work.

“Our proactive police teams have been responsible for dismantling five county drugs lines in the past two months, working hard to address the organised criminal activity that is associated with acquisitive and violent crime in our local communities. Covid has not impacted on our policing resources and we will continue to assess everything on its merits and focus our resources appropriately.”