No one is denying the fact that the anti-social and criminal behaviour that is going on is incredibly frustrating, sometimes frightening and impacts businesses both directly through assaults on staff, theft and damage to property, and indirectly by damaging perceptions of the town as a great place to visit.
Every stakeholder in Bognor Regis town centre is acutely aware of the situation, and everyone is involved in the ongoing work of multiple agencies to address it. There are established forums where representatives from all relevant agencies – including Sussex Police, ADC’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Bognor Regis Town Council, the Bognor Regis BID and Bognor Regis Neighbourhood Watch - meet on a monthly basis to update on actions being taken to address a range of issues that affect community safety.
One of the BID’s key objectives is to help Bognor Regis be a more welcoming town centre that feels safe with low crime and anti-social behaviour. We do all we can to deliver this - we set up and continue to operate a fully accredited Business Crime Reduction Partnership, which includes a data protected system for businesses to report and record incidents using a simple app. This information is shared with all stakeholders in the town, including the Police and Arun District Council’s ASB Team. With the support of the Town Council, we provide the full time Community Warden service, who acts as both a reassuring presence, a deterrent, and an incredible support to businesses needing a quick and effective response. We have recently submitted a detailed funding application for enhanced CCTV that can be accessed locally, so we can support the agencies with power to act by quickly providing them with evidence. The BID’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership Manager liaises closely with the Community Warden on numerous occasions every day, is in regular contact with Sussex Police and ADC’s Anti-social Behaviour Team, and attends numerous information sharing meetings with BCRPs from across East and West Sussex. The BID Co-Ordinator also attends the monthly Joint Arun Action Group meetings with all other stakeholders in Bognor Regis. We represent the concerns of businesses across all of these forums.
It is really important to understand that the BID is a Limited Company, funded by businesses, with a staff of 1.8 people. We are not part of any council, we are not the police, and we don’t have any powers or authority to do anything more than we currently do in our support of our businesses or other town centre stakeholder partners.
It is a fact that the incidents of anti-social behaviour are negatively affecting Bognor Regis Town Centre, but it also a fact that, where the people involved are under the age of 18, a complex response is required. That response is in progress, with multiple agencies working together to achieve a lasting result. It is completely understandable that businesses and the community want to express their anger at the situation as is being seen on social media, but it is also imperative that all incidents be reported to the police through the proper channels, i.e.: on DISC for BCRP Members, through the 101 service (by telephone or online) or telephoning 999 in emergency situations.