Crime and Punishment


Following our report this week on police response (or lack of it) to a case of theft, and our earlier article on the current plans for policing in our area, we thought we would have a deeper look at what is actually happening in Rye. Are we the peaceful law-abiding community that we portray ourselves to be, or is the reality rather different?

We reported in the earlier article that 47 crimes were committed in Rye during the month of August. Since then the September figures have been released which show a drop to a mere 30 offences, although this is probably largely accounted for by the end of the holiday season and consequent reduction in the resident population.

The main, but not the only, parts of the town affected were Tilling Green and the Citadel. Perhaps not too surprising as these are both heavily populated areas and with the Citadel also containing, or bordering, the main shopping area.

The two most prolific types of crime were sex and violence, with 8 offences reported, and theft of various kinds including from cars and also shoplifting with 10 reported offences. There were also 2 cases of criminal damage or arson and 1 each of drugs and forgery. The remainder were for anti-social behaviour. For the same period in 2017 there were 33 incidents reported but in a high proportion of these the crime was either unsolved or the alleged perpetrator not prosecuted.

With the exception of anti-social behaviour for which no details are reported, the sex and or violence cases are all still under investigation as are just 4 of the other crimes. There is no known suspect in the remainder and here we can assume that, for all practical purposes, investigation has ceased. It would appear that so far no-one has been taken to court and prosecuted.

Unfortunately we have been unable to acquire figures for the period prior to October 2015, although for that month the reported crimes were 31 suggesting that at least here the level of crime is static compared to a general rise throughout the country as a whole. However it is interesting to note that we can find no recorded evidence of a prosecution and a worryingly large number were recorded as ‘no suspect identified’. This was, of course, also a period when staff at the Cinque Ports Street police station and its opening hours were being steadily reduced and we were starting to see less and less evidence of police on our streets.

It is known that there is a correlation between the speed with which the police can attend a crime and the chances of achieving an arrest and if we have to rely on officers coming from Hastings or Battle (where our PCSOs are now based), clearly no-one is going to arrive at the scene of a crime quickly. If the reported complaints about the 101 number are correct, it would seem that the arrival of a police officer could be at least several hours away.

We have been promised more police ‘on the beat’ by the police and crime commissioner. It is to be hoped that she will make good her promise if a comparatively peaceful town with a low level of reported crime, is to remain that way.

Image Credits: David McHugh .

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