Safer Arun Partnership - Strategic Intelligence Assessment 2022 [HTML version]

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The Safer Arun Partnership (SAP)

The Safe Arun Partnership (SAP) is about working together, with communities, for communities. The team works to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour across the district with one common goal - to build an Arun that is safer and where people feel safer. The Safer Arun Partnership includes representatives from Arun District Council, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Police & Crime Commissioners Office, Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust, Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Services. The partnership has a statutory duty to work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the district and was formed in response to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as a statutory requirement. 

The Safer Arun Partnership Vision:

"To work in partnership to proactively and reactively reduce the rusk of harm and vulnerability associated with crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour for identified individuals, communities and neighbourhoods"

Strategic Intelligence Assessment

The Strategic Intelligence Assessment (SIA) is annual evidence base compiled and analysed to inform local community safety priorities and aid the partnership's understanding of emerging trends and patterns in crime and disorder, exploring future threats and opportunities.
The Safer Arun Partnership has a legal requirement to undertake a review of crime and disorder across the district each year. The following report has been produced using data from multi-agency sources, for the period January until December 2021, with supporting contextual information and comparative data provided by partners wherever possible.

Caveats and Data Restraints

The previous year’s West Sussex Strategic Intelligence Assessment indicated many data gaps and barriers accessing the information. Despite building a strong professional foundation with analyst networks and multi-agency data owners across the partnership and a significant amount work towards better data sharing practice, there is still a substantial amount of data unable to be included. This was due to absent of data sharing between some agencies, data collection changes or simply data not being recorded.
The data has been collated from many sources and agencies including live systems at Sussex Police and as such it is an overview at the time of the analysis. Only data produced for the “CSP Monthly” download has been audited or verified by Statisticians at Police HQ.

SIA 2022:

  • provide an overview of analysis of local and national crime data
  • establish priorities for Community Safety Partnership
  • project emerging risk, threat and harm
  • identify long-term issues in local areas
  • identify knowledge gap with crime data
  • covers period from Jan 21 until Dec 21

Executive summary

10,521 offences in Arun in 2021; (a very small increase of 10 crimes compared to 2020) However offending is down 6% compared to pre pandemic levels.

Nationally and locally; recorded crime is now similar, or lower than pre pandemic levels.

Violence and drugs offences have both increased compared to pre pandemic levels recorded in 2019.

Drugs trafficking and supply offences increased by 19% this year and remain 127% higher than 2019 levels.

54% recorded crime in Arun was violent crime. This is comparable to rates across the whole force area, but could be higher as violence is often underreported.

Although, the severity of recorded crime in Arun was 3rd highest across West Sussex; was lower than Sussex & England (Crime Severity Score: 10 in Arun, 11.6 in Sussex, & 15.9 in England).

Theft and handling increased by 3% in 2020, but decreased by 22% comparing to 2019. Highest in West Sussex along with Crawley.

Sexual offences increased by 2% in 2021 in and are 10% higher compared to 2019; and were the highest in West Susssex along with Crawley.

Arun has the 3rd highest recorded crime rate across West Sussex at 64 per 1000 residents.

Levels of violent crime are 9% higher compared to 2020 & 2nd highest across West Sussex.

Theft from a vehicle (up 30%), from a person (up 49%) and shoplifting (up 5%) increased compared to 2020. Whereas, bike theft and theft of motor vehicles have decreased.

Domestic abuse reduced by 1% across the district since 2020, yet remains 8% higher than prepandemic levels. The highest across West Sussex accouning for 21% of all domestic abuse crimes.

Key events in 2021

January, February, March:

  • new covid strain (Kent)
  • alpha variant spreads through 50 countries
  • people from red countries covid list required to isolate in quarantine hotels
  • Sarah Everard murder. PC Couzens charged with her death. Sarah's death sparked debates/protests about violence against women and girls
  • Oprah Winfrey interviews Harry and Meghan (suicidal risks and allegations of racist behaviour)
  • Vatican says priests cannot bless same-sex unions
  • US House Committee hearing begins on rise of violence and discrimination against Asian-Americans citing 3,800 hate incidents recorded during a 12-month period
  • trial of former PC Derek Chauvin for murder of George Floyd begins
  • Joe Biden overturns Trumps restrictions on transgender people serving in armed forces

April, May, June:

  • 20-year-old Daunte Wright shot and killed at a traffic stop by a police officer in Minnesota, mistaking her gun for a tazer. Officer charged and convicted
  • UK loosens covid restrictions opening pubs and shops after 175 days
  • President Biden decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September
  • police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd
  • violence between Palestine and Israel escalates
  • delta variant spreads across the UK; causing global concern
  • Supreme court declines to hear schools appeal in a transgender bathroom case
  • UK PM announces end of all covid restrictions from 19/07/2021
  • bomb attack on market in Baghdad ahead of Eid festival kills 25

July, August, September:

  • Taliban forces capture three regional Afghan cities
  • a bomb at Kabul airport kills hundreds amid international efforts to evacuate citizens out of the country
  • last military evacuation plane leaves Kabul
  • Taliban says women must study in gender-segregated classrooms in Afghanistan 
  • petrol panic due to not enough drivers
  • PC Couzens given rare life sentence for rape and murder of Sarah Everard 

October, November, December:

  • bow and arrow terrorist attack and kills five and injures two in Norway
  • MP Sir David Amess stabbed to death in probable terrorist attack
  • Chile becomes 31st nation to legalise same sex marriage
  • UK PM announces emergency covid booster program to protect NHS against new wave of Omicron
  • first Omicron death in UK reported

Arun District

  • Arun covers 85 miles2
  • Main urban areas: Littlehampton, Bognor and Arundel
  • 6 wards in Arun featured within the top 20% most deprived areas among England and Wales
  • 164,800 people living in Arun (Census 2021) 10.2% increase since 2020
  • 85,400 female (52%) 79,400 male (48%)
  • 19% are under 19 years old
  • 52% are between 20 and 64 years old (working age adults)
  • 28% are over 65 years old (older residents)
  • 3% of household lack central heating compared with 3% in West Sussex
  • 16% of all Children We Care For living in Arun
  • 7.46 per hectare Arun population density
  • 7% of West Sussex population resides in Arun
  • 14% of children in Arun living in poverty
  • 20% NEET children reside in Arun (highest % together with Crawley)

Current and emerging threats

  • national rise in thefts of car parts due to factory shutdowns during the pandemic
  • second hand market for parts high - spate of thefts of glass from wing mirrors in Bognor Regis during March
  • intelligence suggests young black males being used to carry drugs from London to Sussex via train network
  • a Bognor drug line was using two teenage brothers to run drugs
  • ongoing issue of groups of youths committing ASB and criminal damage in Littlehampton and Bognor
  • potential modern slavery involving care agencies with homes in West Sussex and an 'at home' care service - links to a London agency
  • concerns regarding potential organised immigration crime centred around a corner shop in the town centre

The local picture: recorded crime in Arun in 2021

10521 recorded crimes in 2021 in Arun (up 0.1% since 2020; but down 6% since 2019). The overall crime rate was 64 per 1000 population.

Police recorded crimes are returning to similar, or lower levels than prior COVID-19 both nationally and locally

Theft and handling

24% of all crimes. 

2567 in 2021 (up 3% since 2020 and down 22% compared to 2019)

Drugs offences

3% all crimes

354 in 2021 (down 12% somce 2020 and up 4% compared to 2019)

Drugs possession

256 in 2021 (down 24% comparing to 2020 and down 17% since 2019)

Drugs trafficking and supply

75 in 2021 (up 19% in 2020 but up 127% in 2019)

Domestic abuse crimes

1938 in 2021 (down 1% since 2020 but up 8% in 2019)

Domestic abuse incidents

1140 in 2021 (down 2% since 2020 and down 4% since 2019)

Violent crimes

54% of all crimes

5684 in 2021 (up 9% since 2020 and up 10% since 2019)


4% of all crimes

376 in 2021 (down 38% since 2020 and down 45% to 2019)

All vehicle offences including criminal damage

1200 in 2021 (down 3% since 2020 and down 30% since 2019)

Sexual offences

381 in 2021 (up 2% since 2020 and up 10% from 347 offences recorded in 2019)

Recorded crimes

10,521 recorded crimes in Arun in 2021. 53,960 (up 1.7%) recorded crimes across West Sussex. Nationally 6 million crimes recorded by police - up 8% (CSEW/ONS - December 2021).

Arun all recorded crimes up 0.1% since 2020. 54% of all Arun crimes were violent crimes.

Crime rate (per 1000 population):

  • Sussex: 67.7
  • West Sussex: 61.1
  • Arun: 64

Total crimes by local authority:

  • Adur: 3903 (down 24)
  • Arun: 10521 ( up 0.1%)
  • Chichester: 7524 (up 13.6%)
  • Crawley: 10903 (up 2.7%)
  • Horsham: 6449 (up 1.3%)
  • Mid Sussex: 6199 (down 8.7%)
  • Worthing: 8461 (up 3.3%)

Select the graph below to see a full-sized version.

Graph showing total recorded crimes by month in Arun

Most recent Crime Survey for England & Wales indicates criminal activity continues to be significantly impacted both nationally and locally by the pandemic. Overall crime in England and Wales was up 18% in 20211; driven by a 54% increase in fraud and computer misuse. Likewise, drops in theft offences (down 15% during lockdown periods) have reversed with crime returning to pre- pandemic levels since restrictions lifted.

Total crime up 18%. Fraud and compute misuse offences up 54%. Homicide up 14%. Sexual offences up 22% (highest number of rape offences ever recorded).

Theft down 15%. Knife crime down 4%. Firearm offences down 5%.

Sussex Police recorded 10521 offences in Arun between January and December 2021; representing a slight increase of 10 offences compared to 2020 (↑ 0.1%); driven mainly by increases in Violent Crimes. Following a decrease of recorded crimes in spring, offending risen in April but remained fairly consistent over the rest of the year accounting for between 882 and 991 offences per month.
Locally, as the graph below shows, the greatest proportion of offences recorded between January and December 2021 were related to incidents of violent crime. Whilst theft offences accounted for 24% of total offences in Arun last year and increased 3% since 2020, levels of offending are still 22% lower than the same period in 2019.

 Sussex Police CSP offences in Arun by Main Crime Categories

A shift away from burglary and acquisitive crime may be linked to more people working from home thereby opportunities to offend are lower. It could also however indicate some criminals are becoming less interested in stealing goods and shifting their modus operandi in favor of using people as commodities of crime.

Of note, however, are the number of glass thefts from wing mirrors occurring in Bognor Regis in the last week of March this year2. This could be attributable to second-hand parts market price rises due to high demand as many factories shutdowns during the pandemic.

Whilst drug offences were 12% lower than in 2020, drug crime in 2021 was almost 4% higher than pre pandemic levels recorded in 2019. Interestingly, while drug trafficking and supply reduced across West Sussex, Arun and Chichester were the only localities seeing an increase in these offences compared to 2020. Furthermore, drug trafficking and supply increased by 19% since last year and more than doubled compared to 2019 (from 33 offences in 2019 to 75 in 2021).

Cyber-crime is an area underreported both locally and nationally. Across the UK, according to the NSPCC there has been 70% increase in online grooming and exploitation in the last three years3. In Arun, vulnerable residents continue to be at risk of these offences along with scams and other cyber enabled crime.


1 Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) year ending December 2021 compared December 2019

2Spate took place between 28th of March - 30th March 2022 (West Sussex SOC LP June 2022, Sussex Police: Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analyst)

3 Record high number of recorded grooming crimes lead to calls for stronger online safety legislation

Violence and exploitation

Exploitation is a term which encompasses a wide range of criminal acts and often involves the threat or use of violence. Both violence and exploitation are complex issues that cannot be addressed in isolation or by a single agency, therefore, this section of the report provides evidence of levels of violence and exploitation across the District in the last year, presenting analysis of some of the causes and contributing factors affecting threat, risk and harm.

  • Arun has 2nd highest number of violent crime offences; accounting for 20% of the county's total
  • Arun's violent crime rat is 34.5 offences per 1000 population
  • levels of recorded violent crime increased 9% last year.
  • violent crime accounted for 54% of Arun's recorded crime last year
  • 25% of the county's knife crimes were recorded in Arun - the vast majority (79%) were linked to acts of violence against the person
  • 8074 nominal of violence were identified by Sussex Police - 23% were children
  • average age of young people involved in violence: 12 years
  • 17% of all violence against the person occurrences involved child and young people (CYP) as victims
  • 36% of the youth violence was committed by were repeated offenders

X Prevalence of violence

Violent crime4 continues to present a significant risk across Arun; attributable for 54% of all reported crime in the district. Unlike many other crimes, levels of violence are 10% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Arun also had 2nd highest number of violent crime offences across West Sussex; accounting for 20% of the county’s total; and one of the highest rate of violent crime with 34.5 violent crimes per 1000 population.

Increases in violence have been driven by a rise in public place violence crime which peaked in July 21; coinciding with covid restrictions being lifted on the 19th of July. That said, 92% of these offences were categorised as acts of violence against the person; accouting for 50% of all district crimes and incrreased by 10% since previous year.

Sussex Police recorded 8074 nominals involved in violence against the person of which 23% were children. Despite young perpetrators involved in violence were on average aged 14-15; this average changes to 12 years old when we look at all young people involved in violent crime; this could suggest that although older children are the one who cause the violent crime; their victims are from younger peers.

Further analysis of police data5 shows the average age of those involved in violent crimes in Arun was 34 years; with almost half of the offences occurring in Bognor Regis (48%), 40% in Littlehampton and 12% in Arundel. Third of the offences were committed by a partner or an ex-partner; 26% by acquaintance, 15% by a family member and 21% of crimes committed by strangers.

Assault was the most common offence of all violent crime; accounting for 62% of all crimes against the person with almost a third of violent incidents resulting in injuries.

More than a third of the children involved in VAP offences were at risk of criminal exploitation of which nearly 14% had a county lines flag. Moreover, 28% of young people were vulnerable and 33% had domestic abuse marker.

Serious violence and serious youth violence

Serious Violent Crime (SVC) only accounted for around 2% of total recorded crime and despite the 30% increase last year (from 88 off in 2020 to 114 in 2021), it reduced when comparing to pre-pandemic levels by 6%.

Additionally, looking at the new Violence Reduction Partnership of Serious Violence6, which are serious violent crime in public place, excluding domestic, there was a 23% increase in serious violence crime in the year ending March 2022 (from 95 offences in 2020/21 to 117 in 2021/22). Of these, 28 offences occurred in a first quarter of 2022. Arun, after Crawley and Adur & Worthing, had the highest number of crimes across West Sussex.

According to the Serious violent crime problem profile7, Arun had one of the highest number of serious violence offences rate by district per 10,000 population (11.8 per 10,000 population)8. The same report indicates that 23% of all West Sussex perpetrators of serious violent crime and 22% of victims resided in Arun9, 2nd highest across West Sussex.

Although town centres and public transport hubs are known hotspot locations for crime; particularly serious violence and likely grooming / recruitment into gangs and exploitation, and the SOC local profile has identified Bognor Town Centre as one of the hotspots for SVC in West Sussex10; interestingly in Arun, half of the serious violence offences took place within deprived areas extending beyond town centres.

Whilst young people may be coming to notice of police and agencies as perpetrators; children and young adults are more likely to be victims of robbery or serious violence; with a quarter of serious violence victims and half of robbery victims aged 25 or under. The vast majority of young people involved in violent crime are already known to youth justice services.

Spikes of youth violence have become apparent across West Sussex and Arun, with groups of young males and young females (typically aged 12-16 years old) engaging in multiple incidents of anti-social behaviour and escalating levels of aggression. Much of this appears to be unprovoked attacks on other young people without an apparent link between them. Whilst any child can be recruited into serious violence, those with vulnerabilities are more at risk.

Children and young adults are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of robbery or serious violence. Where they have committed these offences, the vast majority are already known to youth justice services. Over the 12 months between January and December 2021; West Sussex Youth Justice Service (YJS) supported 349 young people from Arun in 376 active YJS interventions; aged 14-17. 20% the YJS active interventions cohort was known to Children Social Services – 4% were on Children Protection Plans, 7% were Children in Need and we cared for 9%. With a quarter of referrals to the YJS being for substance misuse intervention, mainly related to cannabis use11.

In the same period 72 children from Arun have committed 124 offences; mainly white boys 14-17 years old. 31% crimes were Violence Against the person, 16% criminal damage, 11% motoring offences, 8% theft and at least 13% of young perpetrators were involved in drug-related offending.

As of June 2022, there were 66 young perpetrators residing in Arun in 2021/22 West Sussex cohort (20% of all West Sussex). Although the rate of reoffenders cohort in Arun was 3rd highest across county of 9.1%; it was still lower that West Sussex rate of 11.4%.

Furthermore, the most recent SOC Local Profile indicates that Littlehampton along with Adur and Worthing South as a hotspot for serious violent crime offences affected by alcohol and/or drugs.

Additionally, during the second half of 2021, there were growing concerns about young females aged 12-16 years exhibiting challenging and criminal behaviour in their communities ranging from fast food restaurants, derelict buildings to the rail network and public places. These young girls are extremely vulnerable each having experiencing chaotic family backgrounds, permanent exclusion from mainstream education and cycles of youth justice intervention following criminal conviction. Incidents of violence were including assaults against peers and adults (including security staff, rail staff and others in positions of trust). Although these girls are primarily offending across the Worthing Borough, but also in Adur and Arun districts, it is plausible to suggest that issues around serious youth violence across the district might escalate further.

Weapon related crime

Although weapon related crime remains low in Arun (less than 1% of all crimes in the district), it was one of the highest across West Sussex, accounting for 25% of county offences. Moreover, the recorded knife crime offences12 increased by almost a quarter compared to previous year, from 79 crimes in 2020 to 98 in 202113. Arun also had the 2nd highest numbers of knife crimes across the county.

These offences appear to be altercations and robbery rather than aggravated offending, with a quarter of assaults with intent to cause serious harm. One third of the offences were committed by suspects under 25 years old; with majority occurring within the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

In addition to the weapon related crimes, 69 possession offences were reported within the same period, with 20% decrease when comparing to the previous year.

28% of all West Sussex Habitual Knife Carriers resided in Arun, with almost a half (44%) being under 18; all boys. The Sussex Violence Reduction Strategic Needs Assessment cites anecdotal evidence of some adolescents and local drug users carrying knives in reaction to the threat posed by armed county line criminals.

Gun related crime statistics remain low although increased from 5 offences in 2020 to 9 in 2021.


  • of those identified, 78% had indicators of exploitation and harm and 22% were being exploited
  • 75% exploited children are white British +5% rise in black children being exploited (in West Sussex)
  • cukooing victims age 32-60; used by multiple drug lines - these addresses are used to store the drugs and/or deal from leading to ASB reports in the area
  • 16% Children We Care For in West Sussex reside across Arun district
  • 14% of children in Arun are living in poverty
  • 20% children identified at risk or, or experiencing exploitation reside in Arun
  • 54% of the county lines operating in West Sussex are in Arun - most originate from London and involve the distribution of heroin and cocaine
  • at least 44% children identified in Arun were at risk of criminal exploitation
  • 20% NEET children reside in Arun (highest % together with Crawley)
  • young people being paid (via PayPal) to generate and share explicit images of themselves and others and/or using social media to advertise the sale of drugs/purchase substances (inc Diazepam and paracetamol to attempt suicide)

Child exploitation data as of May 2022.

Crimes like criminal and sexual child exploitation, modern slavery, and human trafficking have a detrimental affect on victims and communities. Since exploitation14 is not a crime, precise numbers for West Sussex and all the districts and boroughs cannot be provided; nevertheless, statutory social care data can provide an outline of the current situation within our county15.

Throughout the year (January – December 2021) 219 children residing in Arun were assessed as either being exploited or having indicators of exploitation. Snapshots of cohort data suggest around 18 are identified at any one time in Arun of which 78% have “indicators of exploitation & harm” and 22% are believed to being exploited. Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) accounts for 44% of all exploited children, 22% children were exploited sexually (CSE) and 33% was a victim of both, criminal and sexual exploitation. Half of the exploited young people were female which is higher than West Sussex ration. Further, research indicates that girls are predominantly more likely to be open to reporting sexual exploitation than boys; this does not necessarily mean that there are more girls than boys, as sexual exploitation within the boy’s cohort is much more hidden. Children aged between 14 – 16 represented the highest proportion of those young people services identified.

In addition to the recorded crime statistics, a number of concerns have been identified through community and professional intelligence.
District and borough councils hold monthly locality meetings to identify and resolve issues affecting groups of young people and/or locations of concern. These meetings are held in addition to the weekly Multi Agency Missing & Exploitation Group (MEOG) which is a practitioner forum where children identified at risk of missing and/or exploitation are safeguarded.

The anecdotal data from Arun Peer Group conferences suggests that young people are being paid for their meals, class A drugs, and beauty treatments.
Moreover, many risk indicators increase levels of vulnerability for individuals and communities. These include (but are not limited to) adverse childhood experiences and emotional and physical wellbeing. It is well documented that children who experience violence/abuse, substance misuse or mental health crises at home are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of crime themselves.
National research16 indicates around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse before reaching adulthood and a further 20% of those aged 15 to 24 globally report often feeling depressed17

Another unintended issue is the displacement of young people across the County, either as a result of managed move between schools, permanent exclusions (and subsequent enrolment in alternative education provisions spread across the County) or police and multi-agency activity aimed at curbing anti-social or criminal behaviour. Whilst these interventions are well intended and often deployed to safeguard young people, they can cause issues to proliferate, increasing the number of people and/or locations where harm can occur.

County Lines

Over half of the County Lines operating across West Sussex were out of Arun District (7 live lines), majority of Bognor Regis; predominantly emanating from London supplying crack cocaine and heroin.
Intelligence suggests young black males being used to carry drugs from London to Sussex via Train network with 60% of young people arrested in Sussex for drug supply offences live outside Sussex18.
A Bognor drug line was using two teenage brothers to run drugs reinforcing the extent to which County Lines is an issue locally.

Cuckooing is strongly associated with county lines activity. Cuckooing is one of the forms of exploitation affecting mainly adults (both males and females are targeted). Sussex Police report indicates that in West Sussex vulnerable Class A drug users were often victims of cuckooing where multiple drug lines used their addresses, with victims leaving premises to deal drugs in public places. Some vulnerable runners are being forced to allow their vehicles to be used for ‘reload’ trips to/from London.
One of the most recent SOC Local Profiles19 suggests that some properties in Bognor Regis and Worthing are being primarily targeted and used for drug storage and dealing, leading to increases in antisocial behaviour issues in the area.

Modern slavery

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT) is a complex crime that covers all forms of slavery, trafficking, and exploitation. Human trafficking is the second largest crime in the world20, with the British government estimating there are 12,72721 victims of trafficking in the UK in 2021. This includes the movement of people into the country as well as internal trafficking between rooms, towns, and counties; all of which is evident. However, slavery experts suggesting these figures are much higher and unofficial figures showing it could be up to 136,000 victims of Modern Slavery in the UK.

During 2021 in West Sussex, there were 65 Modern Slavery offences22 and 169 NRM’s. Majority of victims in West Sussex were male, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Eastern European, which follow the national trend.
Between January and December 2021, there were 13 Modern Slavery offences in Arun; this is a 63% increase compared to the previous 12 months, from 8 crimes in 2020. Arun District also had the 2nd highest number of crimes in 2021 across West Sussex, equating for 20% of all county crimes. During the same period, there were 6 NRM23 referrals in Arun, four are currently under the investigation. Majority males, half were under 18 years old. Whilst figures are low; this is another area of significant under reporting.

Serious organised crime

Serious and Organised Crime Groups (OCG) often utilise violence and exploitation either to intimidate, coerce or enforce. In West Sussex, there were at least eleven organised criminal organisations that were known to be active in 2021, seven of which were successfully disrupted and are no longer believed to be operating24.
Sussex Police have recently changed the way they are reporting the Organised Crime Groups operating in West Sussex, in order to get a better understating of how they are affecting other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), both nationally and internationally data is now captured more broadly, it is not possible to show if they are any groups currently operating in Arun District.

However, there are some concerns regarding potential organised immigration crime centred around a corner shop in the Bognor Regis town centre25.

Furthermore, young people continue to be at risk of serious and organised crime both as victims and being groomed into criminal exploitation to perpetrate offences such as drug running and violence, including sexual violence, against others.

Domestic abuse

Between January - December 2021, Sussex Police recorded 1938 domestic abuse crimes in Arun, accounting for 18% of the recorded crimes across the district. Additionally, over 20% of the recorded domestic abuse in West Sussex occurred in Arun.
Domestic abuse crimes reduced by just over 1% and incidents reduced by almost 2% last year compared with 2020, however, whilst domestic abuse crimes decreased by 1% comparing to previous year, rose by 8% since the pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (from 1798 offences in 2019 to 1938 in 2021).

Of all domestic abuse crimes recorded by Sussex Police in 202126 non-injury violence against the person accounted for 29%, stalking and harassment 28% of crimes, and 23% were violent incident resulting in injury; of those 97% were assaults with injuries.

It is worth noting that domestic abuse is still a very underreported crime, and we would require data from other Partners to get a better understanding of the accurate picture in the district.
Currently, there is insufficient information about WORTH services and other locality support available to people experiencing domestic abuse to be able to show the true prevalence of this form of violence. It is recommended that data recording is broadened to capture more information about risk in localities. However, WSCC data suggests an increase in demand for domestic abuse services across West Sussex and a significant year-on-year rise in new cases from 21 cases per month in January 2020 to 159 cases in September 2021. Nationally, demand for domestic abuse helplines increased by 22% in the year ending March 202127.

In Arun, as of July 2022, there were around 50 domestic abuse cases open with Worth Services with children, with one of the highest proportion of children on Children Protection Plans and open on domestic abuse cases (23.7%) across the county.

According to some studies, cost-of-living rises may have a negative impact on many victims of domestic violence, making it harder for them to escape their abusive partners. Refuge charities have previously noted an increase in calls from women seeking housing during Covid-19 lockdowns who are suffering violence and abuse.28 However, since the cost of living has increased and abusers are under financial pressure, the number of calls has increased, which is triggering a rise in domestic violence.

Furthermore, data from MARAC services, whilst not directly comparable to the recorded crime data shows that Arun & Chichester had the highest number of MARAC cases (374) in West Sussex; accounting for almost a third of the county total; and the highest rate of repeat cases at 20.6%.

Sexual violence

Sexual offences accounted for almost 4% of recorded crime in Arun in 2021. This equates to 381 sexual offences; a 2% increase from 372 in the previous year; accounted for 19% of all West Sussex crimes and the highest, along with Crawley, across the county.

Serious sexual offences risen by 8%, comparing to previous year (from 281 offences in 2020 to 303 in 2021); and are 9% higher than 2019 levels which mirrors local and national trends with national providers capturing highest ever levels of reporting.

This upward trend could reflect a number of factors, including the impact of high-profile incidents, media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police, as well as a potential increase in the number of victims.


4Crimes recorded by Sussex Police with following Home Office return codes: 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4/1, 4/2, 4/3, 4/4, 4/6, 4/7, 4/8, 4/9, 4/10, 5D, 5E, 8L, 8M, 8N, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D, 11A, 13, 14, 37/1, 104, 105A, 105B. In a violent crime, a victim is harmed by or threatened with violence. Violent crimes include rape and sexual assault, robbery, assault, and murder. For more information please see “Home Office Counting Rules 2022/3

5Sussex Police Power Bi Dashboards, Jan-Dec 2021

6Sussex Police VRP Serious Violent Crime Definition: Violence that includes specific crime types that cause or are intended to cause serious injury, and includes homicide, knife crime (including knife possession), personal robbery and gun crime, where these occur in a public place. Has a victim, suspect or offender under the age of 25 and is non-domestic.

7“Serious Violent Crime Problem Profile”, Claire Rivers – Sussex Violence Reduction Partnership Analyst

8Sussex VRP Serious Violent Crime SNA – Claire Brimacombe Sussex VRP Analyst

9Data period October 2018 – September 2021

10West Sussex SOC Local Profile March 2022, Sussex Police: Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analyst

11Bognor Regis Drug Demand Report December 2021, Authors: Robert Whitehead & Catherine Wells, Public Health and Social Research Unit

12The counts might vary slightly from previous knife crime figures supplied as the Home Office have recently changed the knife crime counting rules from ADR 160 knife crime to NDQIS. Sussex Police have refreshed monthly performance figures to reflect the new counting rules. The National Data Quality Improvement Service (NDQIS) offences - new cross-police force methodology for counting the number of recorded offences involving knives or sharp instruments. Offences including: actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm or assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm, attempted murder, robbery, threats to kill, rape, sexual assault, homicide. Please see Arun SIA Data Pack 2022 for details.

13Please refer to the Arun SIA 2021 data pack for more information, tables, and graphs.

14Exploitation can largely be defined as the mistreatment of people through the use of manipulation, coercion or force. Those who are exploited often do not recognise their abuse and may believe they have consented or been a willing participant in the exploitative behaviour. People may experience exploitation either as a result of being groomed or radicalised or through a lack of (informed choice.)

15These figures can be viewed within the SWSP SIA 2022 Data Pack

16 Not just Collateral Damage, Barnardo’s February 2020

17 Guardian/ Unicef

18West Sussex SOC Local Profile –Sussex Police: Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analys

19West Sussex Soc Local Profile – June 2021 Sussex Police: Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analyst

20Drug trafficking highest. Source:

21 Modern Slavery: National Referral Mechanism and Duty to Notify statistics UK, end of year summary, 2021

22HO Code 106 Modern Slavery data January – December 2021

23National Referral Mechanism

24For more details on OCGs in West Sussex please see The SWSP SIA 2022

25West Sussex SOC Local Profile – June 2022, Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analyst

26Sussex Police Power Bi Nominals Dashboard January – December 2021

27 Calls to national domestic abuse helpline surge by 22% in a year

28 A year of lockdown: Refuge releases new figures showing dramatic increase in activity

Acquisitive crime

  • theft from the person is almost 50% higher than last year and pre pandemic levels. Yet figures remain relatively low (64 offences)
  • 228 fewer burglary offences recorded last year (38% reduction)
  • vehicle crime reports remained similar to 2020 levels but are 30% lower than 2019 crime figures
  • theft from a shop increased fractionally; mainly from supermarkets across the district
  • whilst theft & handling only increased 3% last year, it accounts for 24% of the district's crime
  • levels of robbery (business & personal) remain low across the district
  • theft of pedal cycles were around 50% lower than pre pandemic levels

Acquisitive crime is a broad crime category, encompassing a wide range of offences which vary considerably in the level of associated personal harm, for example, from shoplifting to personal robbery.
Often rises in line with periods of economic and social instability in part as some people may turn to offending as a means of maintaining their drug and alcohol habits or standards of living. Despite this, whilst there have been some spikes over the last year, levels of acquisitive crime across Arun and West Sussex, as a whole, appear lower than pre pandemic levels.

  • 1888 theft offences excluding vehicle crimes recorded by Sussex Police in 2021 in Arun
    • locations: 54% in shops, 23% in residential accommodation and 11% in open, public spaces
  • shoplifting accounted for 49% of all theft crimes (927 crimes)
    • hotspot areas: Marine district (37%) & Bersted (13%) wards in Bognor; and River ward in Littlehampton (19%)
  • other theft offences - 40% of all thefts (760 crimes) - 53% occurred in Bognor Regis & 43% in Littlehampton
  • vehicle theft offences: 670 (in Arun in 2021)
    • theft from a vehicle: 78%, theft of a vehicle: 24%, theft of a catalytic converter: 2%
    • most affected areas: Littlehampton (35%), Bognor Regis (43%)
  • theft of pedal cycles 137 crimes (7% of all theft offences)
    • 47% from public, open spaces including shops & 32% from residential properties
    • hotspot wards: Orchard (15%), Marine District (13%) & Hotham (9%) in Bognor and River in Littlehampton (10%)
  • theft from a person offences (64) in Arun accounted for only 3% of crimes
    • 26% occurred in Marine District, 18% in River & 14% Hotham wards (of which almost two thirds were in open, public spaces or shops)

(Arun, Sussex Police Power Bi Nominals Dashboard; January - December 2021)


As already mentioned, theft and handling offences accounted for 24% of all Arun’s crimes; a 3% rise from 2491 crimes in 2020 to 2567 in 2021 yet remain 22% lower than pre-pandemic levels. The increase is most likely driven by rises in thefts from vehicles (up 30%). A spike in thefts from cars this year is in line with a national rise in thefts of car parts due to factory shutdowns during the pandemic, causing increases in the second-hand market for car parts29.

These rises are seen across West Sussex with a spate of thefts of glass from wing mirrors in Bognor Regis during March.

There was a small increase in shoplifting offences last year in Arun (5%) from 862 crimes in 2020 to 901 in 2021; yet numbers remain static when compared to prepandemic level in 2019. This could be because more shops are opening and trading again following lockdowns. On the other hand, rises in shoplifting are seen across the whole of England, with anecdotal data suggesting an increase in 'first-time' shoplifters stealing daily essentials and low-value items, most likely driven by the escalating cost of living crisis30.

Of 1888 theft crimes reported to Sussex Police31, 54% occurred in shops, 23% in residential accommodation and 11% occurred in open, public spaces32. The majority of crimes were committed by adults, with an average age of 38 (91%).

In Arun, 153 young people committed 172 theft crimes, accounting for 18% of the county total and were mainly involved in other thefts33 (44%), shoplifting (31%), and bike thefts (17%). The majority of the young offenders were boys (61%), on average 14 years old, and over a third of the cohort (36%) had a child criminal exploitation flag, of which over half also had a county lines marker, stealing mainly from shops and open, public places.

Criminal damage

In the period between January and December 2021 there were 1140 criminal damage offences34 in Arun, attributable for 20% of the county total. There was a 12% reduction from the 12 months prior; and figures are 4% lower when comparing with pre-pandemic level. Criminal damage to vehicles accounted for 39% of all crimes, over a fifth of the offences were other criminal damage35 crimes (21%), and 25% accounted for damage to residential accommodation.


29 Rise in cars thefts fueled by parts shortages

30 Cost-of-living crisis sparks boom in 'first time' shoplifters with supermarket bosses saying theft levels are 'off the charts'

31Sussex Police Power Bi Nominals Dashboard January – December 2021.

3258 locations were blank, therefore % calculated only from those recorded (1007 theft crimes in total)

33For example Removal of articles from places open to the public (i.e. a parcel stolen from the outside of the house) or theft from vehicle other than a motor vehicle or pedal cycle (i.e motor boat stolen from a harbour)

34Criminal damage results from any person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another and includes either intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged

35Other criminal damage: an offence or offences against the Criminal Damage Act 1971, value of damage over £5000 or one offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 whatever the value of damage involved.

Drivers of crime

Drugs offences

(3% of all crimes)

354 in 2021 (down 12% since 2020 and up 4% compared to 2019)

17% all West Sussex drug crime occurred in Arun last year (3rd highest across the country)

Drugs possession

256 in 2021 - down 24% comparing to 2020 and down 17% since 2019

Drugs trafficking and supply

75 in 2021 (up 19% in 2020 but up 127% in 2019)

Class A drug hotspots: Worthing, along with Crawley & Bognor Regis

Dealing hotspots: Public spaces (parks, fields, alleyways, car parks) (SOC LP March 2022)

Vulnerable class A users continue to be victims of cuckooing, aged 40-62. Primary affected areas: Worthing & Bognor Regis (SOC LP June 2022)


There were 1095 admissions to hospitals across Arun for alcohol specific conditions. This rises to 2797 for broader alcohol related admissions.


4014 ASB offences in Arun in 2021 (up 1% since 2020), highest across West Sussex (20% of all reports in the county).

80% ASB reported for concerns around neighbour nuisance


32% fraud reports in Q3 2021, related to cyber enabled sexploitation. 2nd highest rate across West Sussex.

£921,500 lost to cyber enabled fraud in Arun last year. Highest across Wsx

Hate crime

231 in 2021 - up from 190 in 2020

Hate incidents

34 in 2021 down from 35 in 2020

Hate crime (sexuality)

40 in 2021 - up from 38 in 2020

Hate crime (race)

157 in 2021 - up from 107 in 2020

Substance misuse

Whilst drug offences in Arun were 12% lower than 2020, drug crime in 2021 was almost 4% higher than pre pandemic levels recorded in 2019.
Furthermore, drug trafficking and supply increased by 20% last year (up 19%; from 63 in 2020 to 75 in 2021); and more than doubled from the pre-pandemic level; up 127% from 33 offences in 2019. Despite this, Arun District had the lowest number of drug trafficking and supply offences across the whole county.

Littlehampton was also identified as a Class A drug dealing hotspots by SOC Local Profile in December 2021 along with Worthing and Horsham (North). This is most likely due to Arun having very good transport connections linking between London and coastal areas.

Further intelligence from operational multi-agency scoping meetings suggests a there is a general increase in cannabis use among adolescents across West Sussex; with some children unable to pay for their drug habit. This could lead to some young people being wounded and/or criminally exploited in retribution for drug-debts. With Children’s social care assessments mentioning parental and/or child drug use increased between 2018 and 2020, rising to 20% of all CSC assessments in the Bognor area in 2020. By age, assessments mainly involve the parent’s drug use in the early years, then shift towards the child’s drug use in adolescence.36

Moreover, the Bognor Regis Drug Demand report indicates that 16% of all offences committed by children37 residing in Bognor Regis during 2018-2020, were related to drugs, with majority linked to possession of cannabis.

In Arun, the admissions for both alcohol-related and alcohol-specific conditions are currently on a worrying rising trend from 2018/19 period and are currently higher than the national average for England (674 admissions in 2020/21 per 100,000 in Arun and 587 per 100,000 for England)38.

There is also a worrying increasing trend for the rate of admission for under 18's per 100,000 population in Arun exceeding local and national average at 57.7 (33.4 in West Sussex and 30.7 per 100,000 for England), there were 109539 admissions to the Hospital for alcohol related conditions and rises to 2797 for broader alcohol related admissions.

Digital safety

Digital safety concerns rose exponentially during the pandemic with children, young people and vulnerable adults continuing to experience grooming and exposure to potential offenders through online gaming, the use of chat groups in apps, phishing attempts via email, unsolicited contact in social media and through less secure online educational applications.

The SWSP Strategic Intelligence Assessment has highlighted the importance of digital safety as although already being one of the Partnership cross-cutting priority theme, the evidence suggests online safety and cyber-enabled crime are likely to became even greater issues as communities adjust to living with the social changes that the pandemic bought about40.

Nationally, there was 64% increase in URLs containing images or videos of children being raped and suffering sexual abuse. In Arun 32% of action fraud reports in Q3 2021, was related to cyber enabled sexploitation; 2nd highest rate across West Sussex. Furthermore, £921,500 lost to cyber enabled fraud in Arun last year; highest across the county.

In addition, Catch 22 Dawes Unit and h University College Birmingham research suggest social media can be a catalyst and trigger for Youth Violence as criminals adapt and online grooming and exploitation risen massively. Children living in poverty and deprivation are higher risk. The same reports shows that act of violence and disrespect is not just being captured on photographs and videos but widely spread and replayed within the peer groups.

  • 361,062 reports (up 20% since 2020) and 7 in 10 (252,194 reports) of those led to finding imagery online of children being sexually abused (Internet Watch Foundation 2021)
  • in 2021 the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) took action against 252,000 URLs containing images or videos of children being raped and suffering sexual abuse (up 64% increase from 2020)
  • almost 7 in 10 of child secual abuse involved 11-13 year olds - some imagery of babies, toddlers and young children aged 6 and under were also seen
  • three fold increase in imagery showing 7-10 year olds being targeted and grooms online (IWF 2021)
  • after Covid-19 adults in the UK are now spending up to a quarter of their waking hours online with 18-24 year olds spending the most time, averaging 5 hours and 4 minutes
  • the time children, aged 3-7, spend online up from 7 hours per week to 13 hours when they are 8
  • 78% of young people admitted to joining social media sites before reaching the minimum age. 50% of the children surveyed seen sexual, violent or other adult material on social media (NSPCC survey)
  • nationally 13% girls and boys aged 11-16 taken a topless picture and 3% have taken a fully naked image - 55% children who have taken naked & semi-naked images shared it with someone, 36% had been asked to share it to someone online - of these 31% did not know the person the image was shared with
  • 7-10 years old for self-generated sexual imagery up 235% from 8000 instances in 2020 to 27,000 in 2021 (fastest growing age group) - 11-13 years old remains the biggest age group with 147,900 in 2021 up 167% from 55,300 reports in 2020


Another data measure that can be used to assess social cohesion is Antisocial Behaviour data (ASB). Last year there were 4014 ASB incidents recorded across Arun District, a 1% increase from 3976 offences in 2020; highest in West Sussex41.

Although the numbers of ASB incidents only risen by 1% last year; it is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels 47%). This is mostly driven by increases in disruptive behaviours. The Nuisance ASB42 risen from 3429 incidents in 2020 to 3532 in 2021 3%); however, increased by 46% since 2019. It also accounted of almost 88% of all incidents.

Additionally, Arun District Council’s ASB team anti-social behaviour team recorded 153 individual perpetrators during 2021, of which 12 re-offended (assessed against compliance with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts or higher enforcement); an 8% ASB re-offending rate. The target for this year has been changed to 5%.

The West Sussex Violence and Exploitation Problem Profile showed the examples of peer groups coming to the attention of services for offending behaviour and risk of harm across West Sussex.

With some multi-agency groups concerning about young people in Bognor, along with Worthing and Horsham and (this list is not exhaustive) however it is likely other worrying groups exist across the county. Understanding why some young people form or join deviant or harmful peer groups is complex and multi-faceted.

The intelligence from Sussex Police indicates there a potential emerging issue with some known groups of young people involved in antisocial behaviour and criminal damage across Littlehampton, Shoreham, Pulborough and East Grinstead43.

Furthermore, there are escalating concerns regarding a levels of antisocial behaviour and violence caused by a group of young males around the Arun locality; especially clusters around shops and carparks in Bognor Town Centre causing significant community tensions.

Statistics on ASB in Arun in a pictogram

Hate crime

Whilst Hate Crime continues to account for a very small number of offences in Arun (just 2% of all recorded crime); the impact on those who experience it can be significant. Across the district, 231 hate crimes were recorded between January and December 2021. This represents an increase of 22% compared to the previous year. This rise is similar to levels recorded across England as a whole. This are most likely driver by rise in homophobia and racism.

Despite the increases of hate crimes in 2021, figures still remain lower when comparing to 2019. Two thirds (68%) of the Arun hate crime were racially motivated; rising from 107 offences in 2020 to 157 offences in 2021. A further 17% hate crimes were linked to sexuality.
Those reporting increases could be attributable to better understanding and less social acceptance of prejudice; with people realizing more it’s a crime.

231 hate crime reports (up 22% since 2020; from 190 in 2020)

  • race: 157 in 2021 up from 107 in 2020
  • sexuality: 40 in 2021 up from 38 in 2020
  • gender: 5 in 2021 down from 7 in 2020
  • disablist: 18 in 2021 down from 19 in 2020
  • religion: 8 in 2021 down from 15 in 2020
  • other: 12 in 2021 down from 23 in 2020

34 hate incidents reports (down 3% since 2020; from 35 in 2020)

  • race: 23 in 2021 up from 18 in 2020
  • sexuality: 5 in 2021 down from 6 in 2020
  • gender: 4 in 2021 down from 6 in 2020
  • disablist: 2 in 2021 down from 4 in 2020
  • religion: 0 in 2021 down from 2 in 2020
  • other: 4 in 2021 up from 3 in 2020


36 WSCC Public Health & Social Research Unit Understanding and Reducing Drug Demand 2021

37Aged 13-17 years, however most offences committed by 16-17 years old

38 Local Alcohol Profile – Arun

39In Arun, across all age groups.

40See the SWSP SIA 2022 for more county-wide cyber enable crime information.

4120% of all West Sussex reports

42Personal antisocial behaviour is when a person targets a specific individual or group. Nuisance ASB is when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community. Environmental ASB is when a person’s actions affect the wider environment, such as public spaces or buildings.

43Soc Local Profile – June 2022, Sussex Police: Olivia Meadows, Neighbourhood Intelligence Analyst

Social inequality

Social inequality and income deprivation

Reports show that families on low incomes experienced increasing costs following the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic lockdown periods, the cost of living in the UK has risen notably in 2021/2022 with further increases forecast. A number of factors are influencing the cost-of-living crisis:

  • wages and benefits are rising slower than inflation
  • inflation - in February 2022 inflation rose to 6.2% which is the highest level recorded since 1992 (Harari, et al., 2022)
  • fuel prices  - petrol and diesel prices have increased dramatically in early 2022, following the conflict in Ukraine
  • benefits and tax changes - the removal of the Universal Credit uplift in October 2021, increase in National Insurance contributions and freezing of the Income Tax Personal Allowance are expected to further squeeze households
  • energy prices - the energy price cap increases by 54% in April 2022. Energy prices have increased due to a global gas demand and are expected to continue to rise as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Whilst Inequality doesn’t necessary cause crime it continues to have an impact on the quality of life for individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. Last year’s strategic intelligence assessment highlighted the significant impact social inequality can have on quality of life for individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole; illustrating the links between the poverty, deprivation and criminal behaviour. Unfortunately, with the current economic situation inequality is likely to worsen; the gaps between the pockets of poverty in our county is likely to exacerbate the divide between those who have and those who do not, or feel they cannot participate in mainstream society. Latest data shows 3568 children in Arun in 2021 were living in poverty; although the figures remain static compared to previous year, the rate was 2nd highest across West Sussex44, 20% of the county’s total.

The pandemic has had a detrimental impact on employment and prosperity of some communities; likely to worsen due to the current Russian war with Ukraine and further global cost of living rises; with families on low incomes particularly adversely affected by increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.45

The UK has been significantly affected by increased fuel prices; driven by disrupted Russian gas supplies46 as countries seek to find alternative energy sources. Even before fuel cost and inflation increases, global market intelligence indicates consumer confidence is at the lowest since the 1970’s47; fueled by inflation rises (6.2% February 2022) which are the highest level recorded since 1992 (Harari, et al., 2022).

Rises in economic instability tend to coincide with increases of acquisitive crime. We are not currently seeing this in Arun or across the county; rather a reduction in acquisitive crime in favour of crimes against or involving people; such as criminal or sexual exploitation, drug trafficking; county lines and cuckooing.

The likely long term consequences of the current financial climate will be greater poverty and hardship for some individuals, families and communities that are already vulnerable/disadvantaged.

fMagdalena Steel
Partnership Analyst
Community Safety & Wellbeing, West Sussex County Council


44ONS: Children in low income families: local area statistics 2014 to 2021. Published: 31 March 2022

45Resolution Foundation, 2021

46National World magazine April 2022

47Consumer confidence down two points to lowest-ever score of -40