Southend: Meet the District Commander, Chief Inspector Jo Collins
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Southend’s new District Commander, Chief Inspector Jo Collins, says maintaining the trust and confidence of the local community is one of her top priorities as she starts her new role.
Ch Insp Collins has lived in the local area for nearly 30 years and is now responsible for local and community policing – the officers who respond to 999 calls and are solving and preventing crime across Southend.
Ch Insp Collins has taken over from another Southend local, Ch Insp Ian Hughes, who has moved on to the force’s serious violence unit after two and a half years in the role.
As one of the most popular seaside destinations in the country, Southend experiences high numbers of day trippers and holidaymakers but unfortunately with that comes a small minority who are intent on committing crime or behaving anti-socially.
This summer, Operation Union, which was in place to combat high-harm crime in the busiest areas of Southend, saw 106 people arrested between April and October with officers conducting nearly 7,500 hours of patrols along the seafront and up the High Street and surrounding roads.
However, Ch Insp Collins wants to address the myth that all the policing resources are concentrated on the tourist areas.
She said: “The perception might be that we’re focussed on the seafront, but we have neighbourhood and ward officers in every area across the entire district.
“While some of our focus in the summer is on our busy seafront and town centre, we respond to the needs of the public wherever they are.
“I want our officers to be visible in their local communities and increase the trust and confidence of the public by preventing crime and treating victims properly.”
Ch Insp Collins said she was “thrilled” to be given the opportunity to lead such a busy and diverse team and that she wants to maintain the strong links the force has with partner organisations and the local community.
“Many of the officers who work in Southend were born and grew up here,” she said. “They’re really proud to help keep the city safe.
“We’re lucky to have such strong relationships with the council, local businesses, community groups and charities, but I want to build on those and support the wider community to make sure everyone who lives here or visits Southend feels safe.
“It’s such a vibrant city, there is something here for everyone and we’re so lucky to have such amazing beaches and green spaces on our doorstep.
“Southend has a rich history but with the new city status and the visitors and investment that will attract, it has a really exciting future.”
Ch Insp Collins would also like to encourage the everyone in Southend to engage with their local officers whenever they see them on the streets.
She said: “Police officers like nothing more than talking to the public. Let the officers know if you have any concerns so we can act on them. The more we know about what’s happening, the more we can do to help.”
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