The Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

This week, Sussex Police launched a dedicated Business Crime Team, only the third of its kind in the country. The new unit will help investigate crimes through specialist knowledge, innovative technology and closer co-operation with businesses.

Business managers and owners have been saying we need to identify prolific offenders and get them off our high streets to create a safer environment both for shoppers and retail workers. As Gareth Lewis from the Southern Co-op said at the launch, shopworkers and security staff have been abused, threatened, and assaulted and afraid to come to work.

The Association of Convenience Stores says last year 89% of shop staff were abused and there were 1.1m thefts from stores  at an average cost of £1360. Our Safer Sussex Business Partnership is a great example of the police working effectively with the business sector to gather data, solve more crimes and successfully prosecute more offenders. I want to thank Chris Neilson from Sussex Police and all the members of the Partnership for their support, time, and innovative approach. 

I will be urging my PCC colleagues in other areas to model their response on what is working well in Sussex and I will also share our progress with the National Retail Crime Steering Group. You can see a video about the launch here.

Our shops and high streets have stayed open throughout the pandemic providing not just our essential supplies but a focal point for residents. Business crime is not a victimless crime and it won’t be tolerated in Sussex, so I am delighted to see Sussex Police demonstrate their commitment to protecting our high streets.


My office received the welcome news this week that we have secured nearly £300k from the Safety of Women at Night Fund. This builds on the £1m we received a month ago from the Safer Streets Fund to tackle violence and abuse against women and girls (VAWG).

Here in Sussex, we will be working with over 80 businesses – including some of the largest nighttime venues and transport hubs – to help their staff identify, prevent, and respond to sexual violence and map safe places and travel options for women and girls. This includes a trained taxi marshal scheme in Brighton, the busiest nighttime economy in Sussex.

A large proportion of the funding will support high visibility police patrols at night in specially VAWG branded cars. As well as providing reassurance and a deterring presence, the officers will be there to offer advice and signposting to other support services.

Yesterday, Sussex Police marked Armistice Day with a gathering and ceremony at Police HQ In Lewes. I’m sure all of us would like to take a brief moment to remember all those Sussex officers and staff who died in service to our country.

Katy Bourne OBE

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner