Thurrock: Deterring criminal activity at our busiest shopping destination
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Sgt Simon Phillps talks to a member of the public
Lakeside attracts more than 20 million visitors a year to its shops, restaurants and leisure facilities but with that brings an increased risk of anti-social behaviour and crime.
Our dedicated Community Policing Team (CPT) at the centre were recently joined by eight special constables, the British Transport Police and officers from our Operational Support Group (OSG) who ran high-visibility patrols as part of a Project Servator deployment.
Project Servator aims to deter, detect and disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.
The officers are specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone is planning or preparing to commit an act of crime.
As part of this activity, we installed knife arches at one of the main entrances to the site and ran a hub in the shopping centre with partners from Thurrock Council, Crimestoppers, Victim Support, and the East of England Ambulance Service.
As a result of the increased the police presence, there were a below average number of anti-social behaviour incidents reported and a missing child was swiftly located.
Lakeside security joined officers at the knife arch
The operation was led by T/Inspector Laura Stellon. She explained the aims of the activity.
“This was a multi-partnership day of action focusing on Lakeside and the surrounding area to combat anti-social behaviour and violent crime, and to meet and listen to the local community.
“We’re working with our partners to tackle problems that aren’t purely policing issues, and we also wanted to build on the important work of our Business Crime Team by engaging with the businesses at Lakeside.”
T/Insp Stellon said that she was encouraged by the number of people who came forward to talk to officers, and that it was important to have partners involved for anyone who has information to share but may not feel comfortable coming directly to the police.
She said: “There can be apprehension when people see a number of police officers, but that doesn’t mean something bad has happened. It’s an opportunity to talk to us and discuss any issues or concerns they may have.
“We’re really committed to tackling knife crime but there are people reluctant to report knife carrying to the police. By being able to talk to Crimestoppers or Victim Support, it gives the public another avenue to go through.”
If you see something which you feel needs police attention, or you have information about a crime or criminal activity, please report it to us.
If it’s a crime in progress, always ring 999. Otherwise, you can report it online at www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am and 11pm. Alternatively, you can ring 101.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously online or by calling 0800 555 111.