Castle Point and Rochford: Town Centre Team continuing to protect and serve
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With further easing of Covid-19 restrictions this week, the Castle Point and Rochford Town Centre Team (TCT) will be focussing on more of the issues important to you as they continue patrolling south Essex.
Led by Inspector Cathy Calder, the Town Centre Team, a branch of the Community Policing Team, focus on community concerns in and around our towns, including drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.
Inspector Calder explained:
“The team, supported by the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner’s office, was set up as a response to listening to the public and understanding their needs,”
“The geography of the Castle Point and Rochford areas means we patrol a very large area where communities have differing concerns. We want to meet the community by engaging widely, visibility is everything. But we also spend time covertly in the district when investigating particular crime trends.”
The variety of work means that no two days are the same, and each day brings different challenges to the six strong Town Centre Team.
Insp Calder went on to say:
“We now have a vehicle that allows us better access to country lanes so we can check out hotspot areas for anti-social behaviour, mainly by youths.”
During routine TCT patrols last Thursday, two teenagers were stopped and searched; one was found to be in possession of cannabis which was seized for destruction.
The officers then headed off to Hockley where they spoke to the manager of a shop, advising them that, in addition to shoplifters being dealt with in court, they will now be able to also serve Community Protection Warnings (CPW).
The CPW is in force for 12 months, banning any person responsible for thefts from entering the store during that time. If they choose to ignore the CPW, then they can be arrested.
PC Roy Porter said:
“Having worked in the retail crime team previously, I know how difficult it can be for a business to manage the losses caused by shoplifters. They can be violent or unpredictable when confronted, but this is a way to manage shoplifters and their disruptive behaviour.”
Another issue tackled by the Town Centre Team is antisocial behaviour caused by nuisance motorcycles in the Rochford district. It is more than just riding fast; it’s damage to farmland and green spaces; placing horses and their riders at risk of serious of injury.
During several policing operations, officers have, when they can and it is safe to do so, followed a motorcycle, scrambler or off-road vehicle that is being driven poorly or recklessly and stopped the driver.
The driver is dealt with at the location and reported for relevant road traffic offences; some drivers will find it hard to excuse their driving in court as video footage recorded by our officers will be submitted as evidence.
PC Tony Thomas said:
“We can issue a section 59 notice under the Road Traffic Act to the driver and their vehicle which warns them about their careless or dangerous driving.”
“One of the most affected communities is the rural community as strangers on motorcycles and scramblers trespass onto their land and destroy crops and natural habitats; they feel they aren’t doing any harm when they ride leisure vehicles across fields. But, it’s just not true; farmers can suffer financial losses just like any other business.
“It’s best to be considerate of others and how they make their living.”
As the team return to a new normal, like everyone else, they will be heading off to hold some public events to meet and listen to the public, to see what they think the Town Centre Team could do better and what more can be done to help those who live and work in south Essex.
Insp Calder added:
“We’ve already had few public meetings last week, including one at the Canvey Town Council offices (20 May) but our Community Safety Engagement Officers will be out in the district every week.
"We will publish dates in the future, but why not come along to our next events at Hadleigh Farm Café on 27 May or Waterside Farm Sports Centre on 10 June.
“It would be lovely to see everyone, now that lockdown regulations have eased, so please come along and have a chat with the team, we are always open to new ideas.”
If you see or have any information about antisocial behaviour, call 101. Alternatively, in an emergency call 999.