Waltham Abbey Town Centre Team - a year on
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This week sees us mark a year since the Town Centre Teams were introduced across Essex.
For Waltham Abbey's PC Amber Forrow and PC Luke Watson it's been an exciting and rewarding time.
It's been one year since PCs Amber Forrow and Luke Watson took up their positions as Town Centre Team officers in Waltham Abbey.
In that time the pair have racked up more than 40 arrests between them, tackled anti-social behaviour in the area and built a great relationship with the local community, not to mention Luke is yet to lose a foot chase!
"It's been a massive learning experience for us, but one that's been interesting and exciting" said PC Luke Watson.
"At the beginning we felt it was important to get to know the area, the community, the local businesses, the residents and this is something we invested a lot of time in" added PC Amber Forrow.
"It was crucial for us to understand what the community issues were and what caused residents and local businesses the most concern.
"We wanted to build the community's trust and prove to them that we were here to listen and take action."
Over the course of the year the pair have worked hard to establish themselves as a key part of the community.
They have focused upon tackling anti-social behaviour in the area, which has been a problem for residents for some time.
Over the past year, the pair have arrested more than 40 people currently resulting in 13 charges, four cautions and nine alternative outcomes, such as community resolutions.
In addition they have carried out 100 stop searches and made 14 safe-guarding referrals, helping vulnerable people are getting the help and support they need.
"It's nice to be welcomed into the community" said Luke, who has a 100 per cent success rate when is comes to chasing and catching suspects on foot.
"People are happy to see us.
"They know if they come to us with a problem, we are going to do all that we can to help them, whether it's something we can tackle directly, or work with one of our partners to find a solution."
"We've been able to take the time to understand the Waltham Abbey community and it's dynamics and use this knowledge when investigating crimes and supporting victims or vulnerable people to ensure we achieve the best possible outcomes and hold those who commit crime and cause harm to the community, to account." said Amber.
Local business owner, Teresa-Marie, who runs Waltham Abbey Travel in Sun Street said: "We see Luke and Amber here quite a lot and we've build a good relationship with them.
"It's nice to see officers - really nice.
"People, our clients and us, feel more safe and secure when we see officers in uniform around.
"We've not had a police station here for some time and before we'd only see officers when they were responding to an incident, so the fact we have Luke and Amber here all the time is fantastic.
"It also acts as a deterrent for would-be criminals too, as seeing officers here makes them think twice about committing a crime."
In the last year our Town Centre Teams across the county have made more than 1,000 arrests and led more than 2,000 investigations – bolstering our ability to catch criminals and keep you safe.
The teams have worked hard to make your towns safer by catching drug dealers, shoplifters, those carrying weapons, as well as dealing with anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Holly Whitbread spoke about PC Forrow and PC Watson's success during their first year, when she spent some time with them in Waltham Abbey earlier this week: "I think it's fantastic to have a visible policing presence in our towns.
"They've been really well received by the local community and it’s a nod to how policing use to be, when people knew who their local officer was.
"They've done some great work across Waltham Abbey, not just in our high streets supporting our local shops and businesses, but in our residential areas too.
"Moving forward, I hope to see more of this type of policing within our communities, especially with the increase in officers that we are expecting in Essex."
Epping and Brentwood District Commander, Chief Inspector Ant Alcock, who joined Amber and Luke on patrol earlier this week, praised the pair for their hard work and dedication to the Waltham Abbey community;
"They've done very well" said the Chief Inspector.
"Just from walking through the high street with them today, it's clear they have a great rapport with business owners, staff, shoppers and residents alike and the community know who they are and what they can expect from them.
"Amber and Luke are two of our best officers. They work hard every day, caring for victim and vulnerable people and I know they deliver when it comes to tackling antisocial behaviour, which has been a problem for residents in Waltham Abbey.
"Plus Luke wins all his foot-chases and arrests people.
"They do everything a Town Centre Team is designed to do."
You can keep up to date with Amber and Luke by following them on Twitter @EDFTCT