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Chelmsford Community Policing Team and the force’s Operational Support Group (OSG) ran a joint night of action in the city centre on Saturday as upgrades to CCTV and street lighting were launched.
More than twenty officers were on patrol and OSG’s new OpenGate weapons detection system was used in the city for the first time as part of Operation Grip – hotspot policing to reduce violence.
We were the first force in the country to use the OpenGate, which is more mobile and less conspicuous than a knife arch. We now have three in operation in Essex.
Following research by the University of Essex that highlighted where women and girls felt uncomfortable, Home Office funding was secured to improve poorly-lit areas and CCTV coverage around the train station, Duke Street, and the area surrounding the junction of the High Street and Springfield Road.
As members of the Community Safety Partnership, we work closely with the city council and other public service organisations to make sure everyone out in Chelmsford feels safe and is safe.
In November, Chelmsford City Council and the BID (Business Improvement District) launched the Women’s Safety Charter, with premises in the city centre signing up to become safe spaces for women and girls.
Detective Chief Inspector Neal Miller of the force’s Serious Violence Unit said:
“This initiative showcased the good work we’re doing with our partners to support the Women’s Safety Charter and reduce serious violence though Operation Grip patrols and activities.
“By working with colleagues as part of the Community Safety Partnership, we have provided extra CCTV and lighting in the city centre. This will reassure the public, help them feel safe and shows that we are listening to their concerns.
“We will continue to conduct high visibility patrols across the county through Operation Grip - patrolling to prevent crime – and utilising the new OpenGate technology will help us detect and prevent knife crime.”
Chief Inspector Paul Ballard, District Commander for Chelmsford and Maldon, was out in the city on Saturday night, where he was joined by Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford.
Hs said: “Chelmsford is a safe place to enjoy an evening out and improving the lighting and CCTV coverage in the city will benefit everyone.
“Women and girls were asked where they felt vulnerable and, working with our partners, we have acted on those concerns. Making sure women and girls are safe is an absolute priority for us so anything we can do to help them feel more comfortable is worth it.
“Our officers are out in the city policing the night-time economy every weekend of the year and they are in constant contact with staff at the city’s venues and the council’s CCTV officers. Anyone causing trouble will be robustly dealt with and if anyone needs assistance, we are there to help them.”
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