Every day, all police services in the UK are doing a huge amount of very positive work to keep our nation safe. Inevitably by the same token every day as in all settings some mistakes get made and occasionally they are intentional. Sadly these small proportion of bad issues often get given much more profile from both politicians and media than the huge amount of positive actions. Even the number of cases where Police Officers and their staff get threatened or attacked are many times greater than the mistakes that get published. So when the much more extensive positive activity is mentioned it is worthwhile ensuring that they are promoted as widely as possible. A good example came within the series of answers to Topical Questions for the Home Department that took place in the House of Commons on Monday. The question came from Caroline Ansell, the MP for Eastbourne and the response came from Priti Patel, the Home Secretary. Sadly there were no other Sussex MPs in the debate but let us hope that they too will be able to make positive statements in the near future. This question and answer came a few days after my recent question about the Sussex Violence Reduction Unit which I wrote about here. Perhaps Caroline and her colleagues could also spend some time reflecting on the VRU which in Sussex is less effective than in other places such as Kent because of the lack of wider involvement on the group. This would be one very simple way of improving the support for Sussex Police in their hard work. The VRU would be of particular relevance for issues such as touched on in this question and the response from Priti Patel in her reference to County Lines.
CA: In the recent half-term holiday, Sussex police stepped out across Eastbourne and Willingdon, my home constituency, to address antisocial behaviour. In the course of the operation, they uncovered an instance of cuckooing, where a vulnerable person had been targeted, exploited and their home used as a base for further criminal activity. Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to Sussex police for their excellent work in such challenging times, and update the House on what further work is being done to address this appalling crime?
PP: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I thank Sussex police. I have seen at first hand their work in dealing with county lines, drugs and protecting vulnerable individuals. She is right to highlight this abhorrent crime. We see far too many vulnerable people being used by criminals for criminal purposes. A great deal of work is taking place, in particular on county lines but also on safeguarding victims and vulnerable people.