Impact of new Town Centre Team officers on our high streets
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Our town centres are preparing for one of their busiest times of year as the countdown to Christmas gets underway.
59 Constables and 12 Sergeants have built new networks to tackle anti-social behaviour with retailers and businesses
Town Centre Teams were launched in urban and rural areas across the county in July and August
They have made more than 250 arrests, in addition to those made by officers from other teams serving our towns
The teams have carried out more than 600 investigations
Our town centres are preparing for one of their busiest times of year as the countdown to Christmas gets underway. Black Friday sales, Christmas parties and festive community events will bring thousands of people into our county’s shopping centres. And our Town Centre Teams will be continuing to keep our towns welcoming places for visitors and residents as the festive season gets underway.
They were launched in 23 urban and rural areas across the county in July and August as part of the force’s ongoing commitment to investing in visible, frontline officers.
The 59 Constables and 12 Sergeants have been resolving specific issues affecting their town centres, and working closely with residents, businesses, community groups, councils and other organisations.
This partnership work has included building new networks with retailers and businesses to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour and theft. Our Town Centre Teams have made more than 250 arrests, in addition to those made by officers from other teams serving our towns, and have carried out more than 600 investigations.
In areas where we’ve seen more knife crime, the Town Centre Teams have also been working other specialist teams across the force under Operation Sceptre. This has included gathering information to target offenders, extra patrols and using knife arches to detect weapons.
Here’s just some examples of what Town Centre Teams have achieved:
In Basildon, the town centre team has issued community protection warnings and notices to individuals whose persistent behaviour impacts on other people’s quality of life. Officers have also seized alcohol from street drinkers by using powers under a public spaces protection order. As a result, anti-social behaviour had dropped by more than a third since the town team was launched.
In Grays, officers have been tackling anti-social behaviour and have worked with Thurrock Council to issue 33 community protection notices to individuals whose behaviour is considered to be unreasonable and having a detrimental effect on the community's quality of life.
Chelmsford’s Town Centre Team has been working with the community policing team to continue patrols and stop searches in areas where there is drug activity, leading to arrests for drugs offences.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: “We want everyone to enjoy their high streets and the many shops, restaurants, venues and community events they have to offer. “If you see our Town Centre Teams out and about, please say hello and let them know of any concerns you have. “They are now an integral part of community policing and are already having a positive impact.“They are getting to know local residents and businesses and in doing so understanding what matters to them most. “The essence of our town centre teams is visible community policing, working in partnership and resolving local issues so that everyone can feel safe and proud of where they live and work. “We know people want to see more officers in their communities. “The town centre teams are part of our ongoing commitment to be more visible, to tackle violent crime and provide better support to victims and vulnerable people. “They have already carried out an enormous amount of work in the first few months since they launched and will continue to be a key part of our growing force.”
With Christmas just weeks away, town centres are becoming busier and this brings challenges such as opportunist thieves shoplifting and pick pocketing, and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and violence.
The town centre teams will be working with the community to tackle these issues, so if you see them out and about, please say hello and let them know of any concerns you have.
Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “We are now entering one of the busiest periods for retailers but not always in a positive way. “It is reassuring therefore that Essex Police have established their town teams across the county. They will be there to support both businesses and shoppers alike in coping with those in society who see the festive season as an opportunity to cause mischief for everyone else."
Town Centre Teams are currently located in: Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Canvey, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Grays, Harlow, Harwich, Loughton, Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, Saffron Walden, Southend, South Ockendon, South Woodham Ferrers, Stanford-le-Hope, Waltham Abbey, Wickford, Witham.
You can find out more about what they’re doing on Facebook – each district has its own Essex Police page. You’ll also find details of how to get in touch with them, including Coffee with Cops events and local community meetings.
The town teams are just one of a number of ways our force is growing this year. The Rural Engagement Team was also expanded in September and will have additional officers in early 2020. The rural communities face unique challenges and the team are working with partner agencies and local communities to tackle issues such as unauthorised traveller encampments, hare coursing and flytipping.
Are you interested in doing a job that puts you at the heart of your community? Or do you know someone who might fit the bill? View the opportunities we have on offer in our careers section.