WHISPERING SMITH: Good old Sussex by the sea...

The Sompting Village Morris Dancers will be performing live
The Sompting Village Morris Dancers will be performing live

So all seem to agree that Littlehampton’s streets are, currently, not the happiest of places. Gangs of youths are marauding, knife fighting, stealing, vandalising and generally causing folk, especially traders, a wagon load of grief.

I am not sure it is quite as dark as it is painted, but it is certainly bad enough to warrant an immediate and sustainable solution. I guess that means punishing the culprits in a way that will make them think twice and that is down to the courts.

However, first they have to be caught in the act in order to obtain a successful prosecution and therein lies the rub.

A knee jerk reaction of more coppers on the beat and squad cars parked in back streets would certainly calm things down temporarily, but when they depart the youngsters re-emerge from their dark places and the wheel keeps on a’turning.

Anti-social they may be, vandals and trouble makers they most surely are, but they are not stupid.

Certainly not daft enough to perform whilst police personnel walk the streets in their hi-viz jackets with handcuffs at the ready.

We need a more imaginative approach to this one and, possibly, the answer is to have plain clothes officers on the streets, intelligence gathering, spotting the problem areas and calling for uniformed backup should the need arise.

Stealth, the element of surprise...fanciful? I don’t think so, as I have said before, not knowing when and where a copper might appear and drag you off used to be quite a deterrent, and still is where drink driving is concerned, so why not with these fools?

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Sussex Day is on June 16, and it is getting closer. Let’s get that blue martlet-covered flag flying high.

Already there are plans afoot to cheer, celebrate and entertain us. Popular pub the Dolphin is planning morris dancing – don’t you just love their smiling faces, the clicking sticks and bells?

Also clog dancing, a sea shanty singing group, jiving exhibition and poetry readings.

The Edwin James Festival Choir will be celebrating Sussex at St James’ Church, the Bognor town crier, we don’t have one of our own, will recite the Sussex Charter at the clock tower and traders will be encouraged to fly the flag or decorate their shop windows in a commemorative way.

Hopefully, much more to come, watch the Gazette for news of events...

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