Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex

Investment in increased policing in town centres has more officers in 23 locations across the county to deal with the issues on your doorstep.

As part of the force’s dedication to visible, frontline officers, the 58 constables will tackle the most prominent issues in local communities, making for a safer county and stronger relationships with the public.

Officers in Town Centre Teams will focus on community concerns, including drug dealing and antisocial behaviour. Under the guidance of their sergeants, they will work closely with local businesses and support groups to get to the root of ongoing issues and tensions and investigate appropriately. Businesses experiencing issues with the night time economy, like bars and clubs, will also be supported in the reduction of crime and antisocial behaviour.

The Town Centre Team constables will be assigned to Braintree, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Harwich, Maldon, Saffron Walden, South Woodham Ferrers and Witham in the north of Essex. In the south of the county, officers will be servicing Basildon, Billericay, Canvey, Rayleigh, Rochford, Southend and Wickford.

The teams in the west will be based in: Brentwood, Grays, Harlow, Loughton, South Ockendon, Stanford-le-Hope and Waltham Abbey.

Through monitoring reported crime, detailed discussions with district commanders about areas of need, targeted public surveys, and consideration of town population, the force has been able to target towns which will most clearly benefit from an increase in police presence.

Our Gypsy Traveller and Rural Engagement Team (GTRET) will also be growing from September with 4 new police constables and a sergeant, followed by additional officers in early 2020. The rural communities face unique challenges and the new officers will work with partner agencies and local communities to tackle issues such as unauthorised traveller encampments, hare coursing and flytipping.

Speaking about the creation of the Town Centre Teams, Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “My priorities for the force are clear: we will be visible to deter crime in the community, we will provide better and consistent support to victims and to the vulnerable and we will act against anyone who is intent on inflicting violence in our county.

“With the introduction of the Town Centre Teams, we can be at the centre of these conversations. The public know their local area the best, and so do local officers who can put their boots on the ground and their faces in the village hall. If people have got an issue, or suspect criminal acts are taking place in their community, I need them to feel comfortable reporting it to us. If we work together we can keep the tide turning and put a stop to antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, and other insidious crimes that cause irreparable harm to families, friends and whole communities.

“With a record number of officers passing out in a single ceremony last month, our force is continuing to grow. I am so proud that we’re able to have response-trained officers to answer your 999 calls and, on top of that, provide additional officers to your community.”

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst added: “Good local policing is at the heart of all safe, prosperous communities. These town centre teams mark a significant investment and will allow Essex Police to work even more closely with residents and businesses to create the safe and secure communities we all need to prosper.

“Increasing the local, visible nature of policing, cracking down on anti-social behaviour and working with communities and businesses to prevent crime were key priorities in my 2016 Police and Crime Plan. Today’s announcement is another significant step in delivering a policing service for Essex that listens and responds to the needs of the people of Essex.”

Denise Rossiter Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce & Industry Said: “Our High Streets have been in decline for so long, let’s hope this lifts the public confidence in returning to the shops and generating much needed income for them to survive.”

19:55, 25 Jul 2019 by Michelle Curtis