Southend: More than 100 arrests made during Operation Union deployments
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The operation to combat high-harm crime in the busiest areas of Southend saw 106 people arrested between April and October.
Officers also conducted 294 stop and searches with more than a third (36%) leading to the discovery of illegal items including drugs, weapons and stolen goods.
The majority of the arrests were for the possession of drugs, assault and public disorder.
Operation Union was established in 2021 after the increased footfall in Southend post-lockdown led to instances of trouble.
This year, officers worked closely with Southend-on-Sea City Council, the British Transport Police and seafront security teams to keep the city safe.
Officers conducted nearly 7,500 hours of patrols along the seafront and up the High Street and surrounding roads.
Inspector Dave Gardiner led the operation and said that the highly visible police presence had the desired impact.
“We wanted to send the message that criminality and anti-social behaviour along the seafront would not be tolerated. We had 45 officers on duty during peak times and we robustly enforced the Public Space Protection Order that prevents drinking on the streets.
“In previous years, we saw fighting on the beaches and some violent disorder, but we haven’t experienced that this year.
“At times, large numbers of people did descend on the seafront, but we used dispersal orders and stop and search powers to keep situations contained.
“There was a serious incident on 17 June between two individuals known to each other and not from the area, but this was an isolated event.”
Kai Burin, 18, of Norfolk Road, Ilford, was later arrested by the Metropolitan Police and charged with grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.
To combat knife carrying, Southend Community Policing Team became the first officers in the country to use the OpenGate weapons detection system.
The OpenGate popped in locations across the city including Adventure Island and both main train stations and directly led to a number of weapons being removed from the streets.
The summer also saw the expansion of Southend’s Town Centre Team, which more than doubled in size to 15 PCs and two sergeants.
The team maintained a constant visible presence in the centre of Southend to deter and deal with anti-social behaviour, robbery and issues associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
Insp Gardiner said one of the most positive aspects of the operation has been the backing the officers received from partner organisations and seafront traders.
“The seafront community has really come together, and we’ve had great support from the BTP and the local council.
“The feedback from all our partners involved in Union has been very positive. Seafront traders have welcomed the work we’ve done along the Marine Parade and the esplanades, and the public have told us they find it reassuring to see a highly visible uniformed presence when they’re in the city.”
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