Community Safety and Crime in Brighton & Hove


Date of Meeting:

10th March 2022

Report of:

Executive Director of Housing Neighbourhoods and Communities

Contact Officer:


Jo Player





Ward(s) affected:








1.1         Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, there is a requirement for statutory and other partners to formulate a plan every three years to tackle crime and disorder and monitor progress.  A new Community Safety Strategy was agreed by full council in July 2020. This report provides an update on the work undertaken by the Community Safety Partnership in relation to the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy.


1.2         At the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture (TECC) committee in January 2022, a Notice of Motion was passed requesting a review of policies and procedures relating to crime in the City in conjunction with Sussex Police and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner. This report provides an update on the review of the partnership Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 20-23. For information the NOM is attached at Appendix 1.





2.1         That  committee notes the work being undertaken by the Safer Communities Team and partners in relation to the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 2020-23.



Overview of police recorded crimes and incidents

3.1         There were 24,604 crimes recorded by the police in Brighton & Hove in 2020/21.  This compares with 29,393 in 2019/20 which was mostly before the impacts of Covid restrictions were felt. Total crimes between Jan and May 2021 were lower than the same months pre Covid, but from June 2021 onwards, total crimes have, broadly speaking, fluctuated around pre-Covid levels. Generally acquisitive crimes remained much lower during 2021 than pre-Covid. Criminal damage offences in 2021 have generally been at or below pre-Covid levels. Public place violent crimes have been rising over the course of 2021 and since May 2021 have tended to exceed both 2020 (except Aug) and pre-Covid levels.  The months from September to November showed the highest numbers. Graphs showing the data is attached at Appendix 2


3.2    The number of police recorded serious violence offences in 2021 have fluctuated between 8 and 27 per month, but except for May and November have remained below pre-Covid levels.  There has been an upward trend in the number of knife/sharp instrument offences over the course of 2021, peaking at 43 in November but dropping right down again to 13 in December.


3.3    There has been an increase, particularly in October (n=16) and November (n=18), in the number of attendances at A&E related to alcohol and/or assault where there is a note of spiking, or possible spiking, added in a text field.  Numbers dropped again in December (n=7) and January (n=9), although remained generally higher than in the first half of 2021/22.


3.4    Police recorded domestic violence offences have been broadly at pre-Covid level in the first ten months of 2021, dropping slightly below pre-Covid levels for the last two months of the year. The number of police recorded sexual offences since the winter lockdown early in 2021 has been mostly higher than both 2020 and pre-Covid.  Numbers in the months of September, October and November were particularly high.


3.5    The number of police recorded ASB incidents was 85% higher in 2020/21 than the year before, with numbers especially high when the Covid restrictions were the greatest. This effect was particularly clear in the most numerous ‘nuisance ASB’ category, but numbers of personal ASB and environmental ASB incidents were also up.  This was likely to do with policing activity and public reports in respect of the breaching of restrictions.  The numbers have steadily declined over the last nine months, and now sit at around pre-Covid levels.


3.6   The number of racist incidents and crimes has climbed since the lockdown months of Jan and Feb 2021, reaching a peak in July, and dropping in subsequent months, but numbers recorded since May have been generally higher than pre-Covid.  LGB hate incidents and crimes are fewer but show a similar rising trend over the first nine months of 2021 with monthly numbers over the last four months of the year being above pre-Covid levels.


3.7    The Community Safety Partnership’s Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 2020-23 is regularly reviewed at the quarterly Community Safety Partnership Board and has recently been reviewed by officers and partners, including the Police and Crime Commissioners Office and Sussex Police and strategic assessments have been undertaken for each priority area. No major changes to the strategy have been identified. However due to the overlap between the actions and work streams sitting under the serious violence and exploitation priority areas, it is proposed to merge these two priority areas and associated action plans. A copy of the refreshed strategy is attached at Appendix 3.

Updates on work on the Strategy priority areas

Serious violence and Exploitation


3.8         The Home Office agreed additional one-year funding for 2021-22 to continue the development work of the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP; previously known as the Violence Reduction Unit) and this has grown over the past six months.  The majority of the Home Office funding re-commissioned the Brighton Streets Partnership detached youth work to target violence hotspot areas and respond to emerging issues where appropriate.  Indications from the Home Office are that funding will continue for this work for the next three years. 


3.9         Brighton & Hove VRP provided insight and learning from the recently completed podcasts created by young people, supported by Trust for Developing Communities, to interview police officers and share the experiences of young people, particularly from Black and diverse and/or minoritised communities, of engagement with police


3.10      The multi-agency Adolescent Vulnerability Risk Meeting (AVRM) continues to be held weekly to ensure that safety plans in place for children at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation are robust


3.11      A drug impact reduction co-ordinator has been appointed for three years The central aim of the role is to reduce the harm caused by drugs to our communities. Key to this will be working with the council’s Community Engagement Team and other partners to increase public confidence in reporting incidents of drug harm, and to identify safeguarding concerns in neighbourhoods enabling resources to be targeted appropriately. Two consultation events are being planned to seek the views of residents and a further summit to be held later in the year.


3.12      In December 2021, central government produced a new drugs strategy, ‘From Harm to Hope: a 10-year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives. The strategic priorities focus on breaking drug supply chains, delivering a world-class treatment and recovery system, and achieving a generational shift in demand for drugs. Breaking drug supply and preventing exploitation and/or supporting those who have been exploited, is a key component of the current Exploitation and Serious Violence Action Plan.


3.13      Operation Safety has increasingly provided regular knife crime analysis together with violent crime hot spot analysis to the Joint Action Group (JAG) and also reports to the Partnership Tactical Tasking Coordination Group (PTTCG) to oversee emerging community safety issues and task resources accordingly. The JAG is attended by representatives from the BHVRP-funded Brighton Streets Partnership detached youth work service.


3.14      The council as the Licensing Authority has created special policies designed to restrict the amount of licensable premises in the city centre and promote good practices to minimise the adverse impact from alcohol-use. The council’s licensing team works closely with Brighton Police Licensing carrying out joint enforcement work of licensed premises and joint age restricted test purchase exercises including the sale of alcohol and knives. Safeguarding and child sexual exploitation training is provided to the hotel and hospitality sector and has been made mandatory for all of our licensed taxi drivers.


3.15      There has been considerable activity in the city over the past year to improve our collective response to all forms of modern slavery and human trafficking building on the signing of an Anti-Slavery Pledge. This activity is overseen by the city’s Anti-Slavery Network which is made up of representatives from the local authority, police and health together with the community and voluntary sector. The main focus of this past year has been developing the council’s Modern Slavery Statement in line with S.54 Modern Slavery Act 2015. This is currently being led by Orbis Procurement on behalf of BHCC, East Sussex County Council and Surrey County Council and intends to demonstrate our commitment to transparency in our supply chains.


3.16      BHCC, together with Sussex Police, other local authorities in the county and the community and voluntary sector, are part of the Sussex Anti-Slavery Network (SASN) which seeks to improve how the county tackles all forms of exploitation. As part of the SASN, BHCC is part of a National Network Coordinators Forum made up of representatives from across the country to share good practice and emerging issues. This includes a review of current first responder guidance for local authorities. BHCC is a designated ‘first responder’ agency as per statutory guidance relating to S.49 Modern Slavery Act 2015.


3.17      BHCC introduced the modern slavery referral pathway on 1st April 2020 following a period of development work in the previous financial year. The referral pathway requires all council officers who identify a potential victim of modern slavery and/or human trafficking to refer child potential victims to Front Door for Families as per any other child safeguarding concern. Adult victims are referred to a specific modern slavery inbox managed by the Safer Communities Team who will triage the referral based on whether the main presenting need is related to care and support or homelessness. This means that either Adult Social Care or Housing Options will lead on engaging with the adult potential victim with the view to the National Referral Mechanism being used. This has seen an increase in the number of referrals made into the NRM

Domestic violence and abuse, sexual violence and violence against women & girls


3.18      BHCC in conjunction with colleagues in East and West Sussex and the OSPCC were successful in obtaining funding from the Home Office, specifically to target Violence Against women and girls (VAWG). The four partner organisations were also successful in obtaining funding from the Safety of Women at Night (SWAN) funding from central Government. This has allowed for the deployment of taxi marshals on two City centre ranks on Friday and Saturday nights until March 2022, the purchase of an additional quad bike for the beach patrol, improving lighting in and around the Old Steine, War Memorial and Pavilion Gardens. The funding will also provide work in schools about appropriate relationships, training for venues in the city as well as the development of a safe space app.


3.19      A new Pan Sussex Domestic Abuse strategy has been published following agreement by this committee in January and work has started on consultation for the development of a new VAWG strategy later this year.


3.20      Work has started to deliver additional support services for those experiencing Domestic abuse following the award of ‘new burdens funding from the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities. (DLUHC)


3.21      A new LGBTQ+ & Trans non binary domestic violence Independent domestic violence advocate support service was launched by Switchboard in January 2022.


Anti-social behaviour


3.22      The Partnership Tactical Tasking and Co-ordination Group continues to agree and review community safety priorities and ensures that resources are appropriately deployed.


3.23      An updated Supported Accommodation Community Responsibility Protocol is due to be signed up to by local homeless hostels by end March 2022. This will include support and a training offer by the Community Safety Team to enable hostels to implement good practice in addressing ASB in and around their accommodation.


3.24      The local Community Safety Partnership has implemented a new community trigger (i.e. ASB case review) procedure, in line with updated Home Office guidance.


3.25      In November 2019 the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee agreed the Graffiti Reduction Strategy which contains four workstreams of prevention, removal, enforcement and monitoring/measuring.  Within the last 12 months officers have:

·           Begun engagement work with the Statutory Undertakers to push for improved removal of graffiti on their property and develop clear lines of reporting for when issues occur.

·           Finalised back-office systems and trained Environmental Enforcement Officers to issue Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) and Community Protection Notices (CPNs) which it is hoped will start to be issued in 2022 and which will enforce property owners to take greater responsibility.

·           In November 2021 commenced a 3 month graffiti removal trial on London Road where all incidents of graffiti from all property (public, private, commercial and residential) will be removed within 24 hours of occurrence.  It is hoped that quicker removal of graffiti will lead to a reduction in future incidents occurring.

·           Co-ordinated joint patrols by BHCC Environmental Enforcement Officers and police colleagues.

·           Worked with community groups and local artists on murals in public spaces which deter graffiti.


3.26      The new working arrangements between Sussex Police and the Council in relation to Public Space Protection orders (alcohol in public places) have been implemented and are working well.


3.27      An encampments co-ordinator has been employed on a trial basis to co-ordinate the response to tents on unauthorised sites in the City. Whilst a ‘welfare first’ approach will be taken, the creation of this post has meant that tents are being removed more quicky, reducing the potential impact on local communities regarding associated ASB. The welfare first approach also means that those sleeping in tents because they are homeless will be offered housing assistance as quickly as possible. Operational activity to address such concerns is agreed and overseen by the weekly Encampments meeting and the six-weekly Street Community Partnership Meeting, and some of this work is now undertaken by the new ASB and Exploitation Substance Misuse Outreach Worker based within CGL Substance Misuse Services.

Hate incidents and crimes


3.28      Recent developments have included the launch of the Anti-Racism pledge and package of immediate actions by the council and closer partnership working between council teams.  There is also increased partnership work across statutory and third sectorpartners to develop third party reporting centres and mechanisms and other work to encourage reporting. Two of these should launch in April 2022.


3.29      There is a new community based campaign #BackOffBackUp funded by OSPCC from Brighton based Across Rainbows to raise awareness around the lack of ‘LGBTQ safe spaces’ and encourage shops, bars and premises to sign up to provide safe space for people feeling unsafe. A community-led campaign, funded by BHCC and Sussex Police to address the under-reporting of hate incidents was launched in Dec 2020. The outcome of this campaign is being monitored during 2021/22.  The initial report showed an increased understanding in the community of what constitutes a race and faith-based hate incident and of reporting mechanisms and an increase in hate incidents reported to the Racial Harassment Forum.


3.30      Partnership work between BHCC Cityclean and Sussex Police is underway to promote the reporting of hate-based stickering and graffiti, and further develop information sharing processes.


3.31      Partnership work between statutory agencies and third-party service providers to develop third party reporting centres and mechanisms is underway with a plan to launch in April 2022.


3.32      The pan-Sussex Hate Crime Working Group is currently reviewing hate crime engagement across Sussex with the objective of a joined up consistent engagement campaign across the county.


3.33      There was a range of activity for National Hate Crime Awareness Week in October 2021, with further promotion of the Upstanders films on social media and a BHCC news story featuring messaging on the reasons for reporting hate incident, which local work has identified as a priority for communicating to local groups.

Challenge Extremism


3.34      BHCC continued to facilitate the Upstanders Network, bringing diverse communities and statutory partners together to stand against hate and undertake collaborative work to tackle hate crime.  Following a successful bid to the Home Office for support, the Upstanders twitter account was launched, and several short Upstanders films were created and promoted.  Upstanders messaging was also promoted on Brighton & Hove buses.



3.35      The Counter Terrorism Local Profile (CTLP) and the threat and risk pictures for the City were discussed at recent Prevent Board meetings and the refreshed Prevent Action plan responsive to all current and emerging risks in the city was agreed.


3.36      Channel Panel has continued to meet monthly, virtually, with good attendance from partners. 




4.1         This report is intended to provide an update on current progress on the work carried out as part of the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy, this section is not applicable.  Ways of achieving the aims set out in the partnership Strategy are considered based on the annual strategic assessment of crime and community safety. 




5.1         The Strategic Assessment on which the current Strategy is based was carried out in the in December 2019 and included a consultation event on the findings and proposed priorities for 2020-23. Invited participants included members of the Community Safety Partnership Board, and community and voluntary sector partners, including representatives of Local Action Teams and communities of interest.


5.2         A draft of the Community Safety Strategy was made available for public comment via the consultation portal and in more targeted arenas.


6.            CONCLUSION


6.1         This report provides an update of progress on work under the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 2020-23.





Financial Implications:


This report is for noting and there are no direct financial implications arising from the recommendation made.



            Finance Officer Consulted:     Michael Bentley                            Date: 15/02/22


Legal Implications:


There is a statutory requirement under the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act to have a strategy. There are no legal implications relating to this report which is for noting.    

            Lawyer Consulted:     Alice Rowland                                            Date: 15/2/22



            Equalities Implications:


7.1         The Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy is subject to an ongoing and embedded equality impact assessment where specific actions and activities are identified and assessed for equality impact. The work around hate crime helps us to address our responsibilities under the Equalities Act.


            Sustainability Implications:


7.2         None







Appendix 1. Briefing note to Full Council on the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy and Covid




Appendix 2:  Recorded crimes and incidents per month in 2020 compared with average or previous two years

Total Crimes


Total recorded crime per month compared with the average of the same months in 2018 and 2019:

o   Feb, up 29%

o   Mar, down 11%

o   Apr, down 21%

o   May, down 16%

o   Jun, down 5%

o   Jul, down 5%

o   Aug, up 2%



Violence against the person

All violence against the person (VAP) crimes in the year up to Feb were showing about a 10% increase on 2018/19.  In the months since then total VAP crimes have generally a similar trend to the previous two years.  However, just looking a violent crimes which happened in a public place, numbers were depressed during the early Covid months of April and May, but have steadily climbed in the subsequent months, and by Aug, numbers were actually higher than the average of the previous two Augusts.

The subgroups of assault with less serious injury and common assault show a similar pattern to all VAP and to public place violence.



Acquisitive Crimes

Most acquisitive crime groups were similar or higher in Jan and Feb compared with last 2 years.

Burglary data here is a combination of residential and non-residential and numbers have steadily dropped over the first half of 2020, before a jump up in Jul, but dropping back in Aug.

Crimes typically associated with engagement in retail and leisure environments showed a particular decline between Mar and May, but have continued to remain much lower than the previous two year average.

There always tends to be a seasonal pattern to cycle theft associated with how many people are cycling, but in addition to this, there was a spike in cycle thefts in May.




Domestic and sexual violence and abuse

Recorded domestic violence and abuse was up by 17% in the 11m up to Feb. In the months since then, numbers have been higher than the average of the same months of 2018 and 2019, with the months of Apr and Aug particularly so.

Sexual offences showed a drop in the months of Mar to Jun.  In previous years, sexual offences have shown a clear link to the night time economy.


Criminal damage and antisocial behaviour (ASB)

Recorded criminal damage offences were up by 9% in the 11m up to Feb 2020 compared with the same period the year before.  There were fewer criminal damage offences recorded in Apr and May than the average of the same months in 2018 and 2019.  However, numbers have risen steadily since then, with a particular jump up in August.

In the 11m up to Feb total ASB incidents were down by 9%.  While the month of Mar was in line with the previous months, numbers of ASB nuisance incidents suddenly increased in April to more than twice the average of the previous two years.  Nuisance ASB reports were mostly responsible for the overall increase since they are the most numerous of the three sub types of ASB incident, but the same general pattern was also seen in personal and environmental ASB.



Hate incidents and crimes


In the 11m up to February 2020 racist, religiously motivated and homophobic incidents and crimes were all showing an increase compared with the previous year, while gender identity and disability motivated crimes were at a roughly similar level. 

Total recorded hate crimes during the early lockdown period (Apr and May 2020) were slightly lower than average of the corresponding months in the previous two years.  However, racist and LGB hate incidents and crimes have both seen quite a steep rise over the summer months.

Hate incidents and crimes are often associated with the night-time economy which has been affected by the Covid outbreak.



Crimes against business fell in Mar and Apr, and although they have risen in subsequent months, they have remained lower than previous two years. 

Robberies (mostly personal robberies) have also dropped in the early lockdown period, presumably linked to fewer people in public spaces reducing opportunities.  However, they climbed up during the summer.