Many of us are fortunate enough to enjoy the many advantages of living in Worthing, including our lovely coastline and easy access to the South Downs.
However, some parts of Worthing, particularly Central Worthing, have been hit disproportionately hard by austerity, which in turn has been linked both to poverty and a rise in organised crime.
Last week, Worthing West Constituency Labour Party held an information and discussion session, focusing on the effects of organised crime such as county lines/drug dealing and modern slavery.
We recognise that the Police are going beyond the traditional model of responding to call outs and are also working on crime prevention strategies. However, recent reports into the national rise in violent crime have highlighted the detrimental effects on communities of cuts to Police funding and staffing.
While West Worthing CLP is fully committed to collaborative working with the Police, evidence shows that crime is a complex social issue, both in cause and effect. We would like to see youth initiatives established to improve resilience in young people who may be drawn to the gang culture. We also fear that cuts by West Sussex County Council to housing related support, will also exacerbate the problems in our town and have a detrimental effect on residents and businesses alike.
West Worthing CLP
Nothing can be more important than providing a safe and secure environment for children to grow up in and become resilient adults. Although Worthing has a relatively low crime rate, the town is not immune from national trends; coastal towns all over the country are feeling the effects of county line drug dealing and associated violence.
West Worthing Constituency Labour Party (CLP) has been following, and fully supports, the recent police operations in the town plus the recent knife amnesty. We also stand against crime with the communities and neighbourhoods of the town.
In order to prevent young people being drawn into crime, we also advocate a strategic approach to provision of early help, support for parents and investment in youth work, all of which have been so undermined by government cuts in recent years. Cuts to housing related support will affects organisations such as the YMCA and Southdown Housing who provide vital support for vulnerable young people. Youth homelessness is also an issue for a growing number of young people unable to afford accommodation in Worthing.
Being homeless and/or unemployed greatly increases the risks of young people joining gangs to earn money and gain a sense of fellowship.
If we are to keep deadly weapons off our streets we need to listen and act upon the views of young people, especially those groups such as care leavers and excluded pupils who are most at risk of being drawn into violence. It is everyone’s interest to ensure Worthing remains a safe place to live and raise families.
Worthing West CLP