Brighton and Hove’s senior police officer shared her delight as “baddies” have put their hands in their pockets to complain about a crackdown on The Level.
Divisional commander Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell described The Level as a “perennial” issue when speaking at Brighton and Hove City Council’s Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities and Equalities meeting yesterday (Monday 21 January).
She told the committee that there was a need to “claim back” the space for members of the public with visible policing.
Chief Superintendent Bell said: “What pleased me most was feedback from a skate park user who said they felt able to use the skate park as intended.
“It is having the desired impact on the baddies putting their hands in their own pockets for the stickers saying ‘no police on the level’.”
Councillors were told that The Level, St James’s Street and New Road were key areas of concern during the review of crime figures in Brighton and Hove, comparing the first half of 2017 with 2018.
Labour councillor Emma Daniel, who chairs the neighbourhoods committee, said that she was pleased, not least because so many people in her ward – Hanover and Elm Grove – use The Level.
She said: “I have seen a big improvement and a step up in quality of the joint response on The Level.
“The area’s problems are drug related anti-social behaviour related to organised crime gangs.
“It was putting people off using the park.”
St Peter’s and North Laine ward councillor Pete West welcomed the improvement in policing, describing The Level of the past as a “neglected and lawless place” before the extensive investment six years ago.
He said: “We are trying to recover this space from neglect.”
Councillor West also asked about increasing levels of vehicle crime across Brighton and Hove as he felt that technology should deter thieves.
The number of vehicle crimes recorded by police went up 35 per cent from 770 in the first half of 2017 to 1,031 in the first half of 2018.
Chief Superintendent Bell said that the criminal world had kept up with technology and was able to steal cars.
She said that the recent spate of steering wheel thefts from BMWs in Hove was a lucrative opportunistic crime.
Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth asked whether any measures were in place to protect the new Royal Sussex County Hospital helipad, due to enter active service this year, from drone attack.
Chief Superintendent Bell said that recent events at Heathrow and Gatwick airports had highlighted the threat posed by drones.
This was a security issue being considered, she said, as the hospital was a critical part of the infrastructure.