More than 130 referrals made into scheme set up to tackle anti-social behaviour in West Sussex

Arun and Chichester prevention team acting inspector Danny West speaking to the public in Bognor Regis town centre last month. Photo: Kate Shemilt
Arun and Chichester prevention team acting inspector Danny West speaking to the public in Bognor Regis town centre last month. Photo: Kate Shemilt

More than 130 children have been referred to a £890,000 scheme launched to tackle anti-social behaviour in West Sussex.

That is according to Arun and Chichester prevention team acting inspector Danny West, who was speaking at a western Arun area committee meeting on Wednesday (June 19).

Following a spate of anti-social behaviour, Insp West revealed there has been a reboot to the Sussex Police early intervention scheme, after a total of £890,000 was secured from the Home Office intervention fund.

He said: "A youth co-coordinator has been recruited to work across the whole of West Sussex. In the last couple of months, there have been 132 referrals into the scheme across the whole of the county.

"The speed of referrals is going up as staff get more acquainted to the process."

Insp West outlined the process of the scheme.

He said: "If a youth comes to our notice to do with anti-social behaviour or behaviour linked to misuse of drink and drugs, stage one will see them referred to the scheme and, if they are accepted, a PCSO (police community support officer) will visit their home address. They will then issue a letter and speak to the youth involved and their parent or guardian.

"If there are further problems, the prevention youth officer will do another home visit and extensive screening where they will ask questions about the activities they engage in, friendships they have and will issue further guidance on behaviour.

"If further problems occur, then the early intervention youth coordinator will attend and issue an acceptable behaviour contract which will list certain conditions relevant to them and will hopefully curb further problems. If it goes on, they will be referred into the youth offending service for three months and they then can potentially be paired up with a mentor, paid for by the programme, who then can actively engage the youth in activities and move them away from the sort of behaviour they are exhibiting in the community.

"Finally, at stage five, there would be a meeting to discuss a civil injunction. It's really good to have this process in place. We anticipate that with the vast majority of children, after meetings with the PCSO and after receiving a letter, we won't have any further problems."

On Twitter, Katy Bourne OBE, police and crime commissioner for Sussex, said the reboot programme is 'already successfully helping young people and steering them away from antisocial behaviour and criminality'.