Castle Point: Meet the officers responding to your emergency calls
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On an average day, Essex Police receives 60 calls or reports from members of the public relating to incidents in the Castle Point district. At weekends and on bank holidays, this rises to around 80.
Reports of hate-related incidents and community issues will be investigated by community policing team officers, often working with Castle Point District Council and other partner agencies to resolve them.
But usually, our local policing officers are the first police officers you are likely to see at an incident and they will often investigate it, too.
From burglaries to domestic disputes, from concerns for safety to searching for high-risk missing people, from anti-social behaviour and criminal damage to assaults and dealing with the results of poor & dangerous driving - no two days are the same.
“Every day is different. we go to a wide range of incidents, from people in crisis due to their mental health or intoxication, to people who are victims of thefts or burglaries. “You never know what’s going to come in and that makes it interesting. One day I responded to a report of a baby with a suspected cardiac arrest. I got there at the same time as the ambulance and they dealt with it so I was only there a couple of minutes before deploying to my next job. “It was quite distressing because I left without knowing what had happened to the baby. But I could have been first there and had to use my first aid training. I did find out afterwards that the baby was alright, which was good to know. “We have good community relations here. Our community policing team works closely with the Jewish community here and we are well received by the community around Canvey and Benfleet. “If we’re arresting people or they are upset with us, it’s because they are committing crime. “But most people are happy to engage and report crimes or anti-social behaviour, which we investigate. “And our community policing team builds on this work by holding events such as Coffee with Cops and crime prevention advice days.” PC James Ellis
PC Alex Kersley started his career as an Essex Police officer at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. After his training, during which he gained an insight into the work of specialist teams around the force, Alex joined Canvey Local Policing Team a year ago.
“Policing through COVID was very different. A year ago, we were dealing with a lot of COVID-related sudden deaths and domestic incidents where families had been kept in the house. We attended COVID breaches, such as illegal gatherings and people not self-isolating on their return from abroad. “Now it’s a lot more varied. There are still sudden deaths and domestic incidents but we also deal with a lot of other things such as road collisions, burglaries and assaults.” PC Alex Kersley
But although shifts can be very busy, Alex says there are some jobs which require some investigation on the spot before they are handed over to a specialist team for further investigation.
“A few months ago, a colleague and I responded to reports of a man in Hockley assaulting another man. We arrived, identified the suspect and arrested him on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm. When we searched the property we found a weapon. The case then went to CID for further investigation.” PC Alex Kersley
Following an attempted burglary on Canvey, where the suspects were disturbed by neighbours who reported it, Alex found a car key in the garden, which was unusual.
“We called the homeowner, who was on holiday, and it wasn’t theirs. So my colleague walked down the road until he found a car of the same make with both doors left ajar. “We’d placed the key in a forensics bag but we were still able to determine that it belonged to the car. And, because of what we found inside, we were able to link the car to a couple of burglaries in Basildon.” PC Alex Kersley
Alex says he and his local policing colleagues go out on proactive patrols in between attending incidents to engage with the public and build up the community ‘feel’, particularly on Canvey.
“The island can be quite isolated but everyone knows everyone. It’s a tight-knit community but we work well with people on the island and they support the work we do.” PC Alex Kersley
PC Alex Bunch also enjoys working with Canvey Local Policing Team because every day is different.
“You don’t know what you’ll be going into, which doesn’t happen in a normal 9-5 job, and you learn things, which shapes you. “Last year there was a water leak on a main road in Benfleet. We were called because it had such a big impact on roads – there was such disruption – and we had to ensure that everyone was safe.” PC Alex Bunch