POLICE officers from across Sussex are to be given new equipment to stop suspects who try to escape in vehicles.
Stop Stick devices are used to puncture the tyres of vehicles that are being pursued by police, forcing the suspects to slow down.
The equipment features hollow steel spikes and is laid in the path of a vehicle so that when it is driven over, the tyres of the vehicle deflate.
Previously it had been used by roads policing unit teams and tactical firearms officers to stop and arrest criminals more quickly.
Now it is to be used by neighbourhood response teams across the county to stop offenders quickly and effectively to make the roads safer for members of the public.
They will carry the equipment when they are called out so they can immediately use it without having to call for other officers to bring them.
Every officer who will use the equipment has been given specialist training in how to use it safely to reduce the chance of the suspect or any other road users being injured.
Part of the training involves making sure officers know when and where it is appropriate to use the equipment and when deflating the tyres of the suspect’s car could put more people in danger.
Inspector Phil Nicholas said: “We have bought another 40 Stop Stick devices so that they can be used when they are needed anywhere in the county without the need for specialist teams to be brought in, which can take time.
“When suspects are being pursued they can put pedestrians and other people on the road in danger by driving erratically or at high speed to get away from officers.
“We want to prevent that and using Stop Sticks allows us to slow down a suspect’s vehicle quickly. They have proved very effective in reducing the length of pursuits or even preventing them from happening at all by stopping vehicles.
“For a relatively small cost we hope to slow down and stop criminals who are driving around the county which will help to make the roads of Sussex safer for everyone.”
Members of the public can help tackle vehicle crime in Sussex. If you see a vehicle being driven antisocially or suspiciously, text the details to 65999 or report it at www.operationcrackdown.co.uk