Calls for action following park stabbing

Horsham Park
Horsham Park

Calls for action have gone out to improve safety in Horsham Park after a teenager was stabbed in an early evening attack.

An 18-year-old was found with a stab wound in the park last Thursday at around 6.40pm.

He was rushed to hospital for treatment but police said that his injury was ‘not life threatening.’

Officers later charged a 16-year-old boy with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been bailed to appear before Worthing Youth Court on Thursday May 31.

Earlier, following the stabbing, Police Community Support Officers patrolled the park in the North Street area to help provide public ‘reassurance.’

Meanwhile, the New Friends of Horsham Park have called for the issue of safety in the area to be addressed as part of a new park management plan.

Friends’ chairman Sally Sanderson said: “It is terrible to hear about violence in the park and especially violence committed by and against such young people.”

She said the question of safety was raised, among other issues, in a park user survey conducted by Horsham District Council.

Added Sally: “Local residents have raised concerns with us over lighting and safety.”

And, she said, Collyer’s College had also raised the issue with the park Friends with concerns for both their students and staff when crossing the park in the dark winter months.

Horsham district councillor Christine Costin described an escalation in young people in Horsham carrying knives as ‘alarming’ and said: “Active steps must be taken to stop this trend in its tracks.”

She added: “We all want to feel safe when we go out. Knife crime is a national trend and somehow everybody has to think about how we can solve it.”

She said having less police than there were previously “probably adds to the increases in weapon related incidents. It is not enough to think that Horsham is better than elsewhere.”

Horsham District Council, meanwhile, says that security measures are already in force in Horsham Park.

A spokesman said: “In terms of security measures, some areas of Horsham Park are covered by the Public Space CCTV Network and these cameras are fully functional during the day and after dark.

“Additionally, the council’s security contractor and dedicated park rangers patrol the site as a means of inspecting as well as deterring any anti-social behaviour.

“Key routes through and around the park are fully lit, and the council carefully manages perimeters of the park to ensure they are not overgrown.

“It is not, however, our policy to light large open spaces and as a safety measure the council always encourages pedestrians, particularly those who are alone, to use the routes along the surrounding fully lit main roads during the hours of darkness. Using these routes only adds two or three additional minutes to any journey.”