Harlow: Meet the officers responding to your emergency calls
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On an average day, Essex Police receives 65 calls or reports from members of the public relating to incidents in the Harlow district.
Of these, around 11 will be 999 calls, many requiring an emergency response.
Officers from Harlow Local Policing Team will deal with the vast majority of them – they will often be the first police officers you are likely to see at an incident.
And they will often investigate it too.
In a typical day, they will be called out to domestic incidents – ranging from loud arguments between partners to serious assaults – reports of drug-dealing or people under the influence of drugs or drink, road collisions, reports from people concerned for someone else’s welfare, mental health incidents, search for missing people, reports of weapons seen, fights, shoplifting and sudden deaths – where someone has died unexpectedly but, often, not in suspicious circumstances.
Reports of hate-related incidents and community issues will be investigated by community policing team officers, often working with Harlow Council and other partner agencies to resolve them.
During just one shift last week, local policing officers attended several reports of domestic abuse, one of indecent exposure and two incidents involving people with mental health issues.
They also responded to an intruder alarm and, together with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, a report of a car fire.
A juvenile was cautioned for a knife offence and officers interviewed a man arrested on suspicion of child abuse and made inquiries into a series of shoplifting offences.
As you can see, there’s a huge variety in the calls we receive and all our local policing officers agree no two days are the same.
PC Adem Harman joined us almost five years ago after a career in the pub trade. He likes to be able to protect vulnerable people and help victims of crime.
“It’s good being out in the community, making sure everyone feels safe going about their daily business and, even when they are tucked up in bed, knows the police are out there, looking after them. It’s very rewarding.” PC Adem Harman
He remembers the first case he investigated which resulted in the offender being jailed.
“A young woman was violently assaulted during a night out by a man who had tried to chat her up. As she tried to walk away, he knocked her unconscious. “I was first on the scene, gave her initial first aid and she went to hospital. Afterwards, I took statements, got CCTV footage and, from that, was able to identify a suspect. Then I prepared the case file for court. “He got a nine-month custodial sentence. It wasn’t the longest sentence but the victim was very happy because she felt a lot safer on nights out because we found out who the guy was, arrested him and got him to court for what he’d done.” PC Adem Harman
PC Benn Barnes says working on a local policing team can be challenging but it keeps him on his feet and switched on so he’s able to deal with whatever incident he’s deployed to.
“As police officers, we all get out of bed in the morning and don’t want to see anyone become a victim of crime. But ultimately, it does happen and so it’s nice to be able to support people at their time of need. “You never know what the next call’s going to be or what skill set you’re going to need to call on next. “You can go straight from a shoplifting incident to a report of a stolen car or a sudden death.” PC Benn Barnes
PC Dickson Wadja is one of our newest officers but he already loves the job because he likes to help people.
In November, he was with a colleague who arrested a 53-year-old man on suspicion of sexual communications with a child.
“The man thought he was talking to a 12-year-old girl online but when he turned up at the place he had arranged to meet her, we were there waiting to arrest him!” PC Dickson Wadja
Last month, the man was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to a total of 30 months’ imprisonment after admitting attempting to cause or incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act. He was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
Another of our newer officers, PC Hollie Lee, decided to change career during Lockdown. Previously, she was a student paediatric nurse.
“It’s easier to help people when you can help them now and in the future. As a nurse, you can patch people up and help to heal them but you then have to send them away and you can’t take them away from the situation they are in. “Being a police officer means you can help them and do something about it now. You can help their future by signposting them in the right direction and getting the right agencies involved. “It’s nice to be able to help people go forward with their lives, from children right through to the elderly.” PC Hollie Lee
Earlier this month, Hollie and a colleague attended Hester’s Park in Harlow after we received calls alleging a man was drunk in charge of a young child.
Two days later, at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, a 31-year-old Harlow man admitted being drunk in charge of a child under seven. He also admitted assaulting a police officer and a custody detention officer. He was given a community order for 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £105 court costs and a £95 victim surcharge.
“We found the man on a park bench with a young child in a pram. That was a good job for me because I have a connection with children. After the man was arrested, it was good to be able to help the child, take them back to the station and look after them until their mother came to pick them up.” PC Hollie Lee
After a career in the Royal Navy, PC James Ross is now enjoying his new role on dry land, helping victims of crime in and around Harlow. His first arrest was of a rape suspect.
“It was a very serious offence and I feel that will always stay with me. I’d never dealt with anything like that in any previous roles or previous jobs. But this is the world of policing. “However, the skills I learnt in the Royal Navy have helped me in the jobs I encounter in and around Harlow. “And it’s great when we get feedback from victims saying how well and how nice they were made to feel when we’ve visited jobs. “I enjoy helping people and I get a sense of achievement knowing that I’ve done something good on my shift. I can go home knowing that I’ve helped someone.” PC James Ross
Confidence in the police in the Harlow area has remained high for the past two years, with 83% of local residents surveyed saying they believed officers were doing a good or excellent job.
Anti-social behaviour incidents in the district fell by 46% in the year to 28 February 2022, compared to the previous 12 months, and the number of robberies dropped by 24%.
Do you have information for us?
If you see something which you feel needs police attention, or you have information about a crime or criminal activity, you can submit an online report or, between 7am and 11pm, you can use Live Chat. You can also call 101.