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“We are committed to making Lakeside shopping centre a safe place to work and visit.”
Sgt Amelia Moore, of Lakeside Community Policing Team
Amelia and her team have good links with businesses and shops, working closely with their management teams and security staff and encouraging them to contact police when they require our assistance.
“Security staff are often first on the scene but they contact us directly via Shop Safe radio which means we can react quickly to incidents across the Lakeside centre.”
Since 1 February there have, unfortunately, been five robberies at the centre and on the Quay. But, thanks to the Lakeside Community Policing Team’s great links with shops and with the shopping centre’s management and security teams, they reacted quickly and positively to each incident and a total of 12 arrests have been made. Our inquiries continue.
“Lakeside is a tight-knit community and it’s the working relationships we all have which means we are able swiftly to identify people of interest and make quick arrests should a crime occur.
“We all want the same thing: to ensure people are safe at Lakeside whether they come here to work, shop, eat or have a night out.”
When not tackling specific incidents, officers will be out patrolling – often with Lakeside security staff and officers from our Special Constabulary – or undertaking other operational activity designed to keep Lakeside safe for shoppers and for retail and business staff alike.
Last month, the team completed more than 150 hours of high-visibility foot patrols. They also conduct regular weapons sweeps and use the centre’s knife arch.
Lakeside CPT officers also work to identify and tackle emerging crime trends and provide retailers with suitable crime prevention advice and reassurance.
“We go on joint patrols with security and management at Lakeside and also with our own crime prevention tactical advisers to pinpoint areas where particular crime trends seem to be happening and to determine whether there are any environmental factors that we can change to reduce crime.
“Solutions can be as simple as increasing CCTV coverage and adding brighter lighting in alleyways.
“The CPT also deals with all shoplifting offences and works with our specialist Business Crime Team to target prolific offenders and discourage them from committing crimes here.”
One of the ways they do this is by working with the Crown Prosecution Service to obtain criminal behaviour orders, which are designed to tackle the most serious and persistent anti-social individuals where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court.
In a recent case, a 17-year-old from Chelmsford was banned for two years from attending Lakeside Shopping Centre, its car parks and leisure facilities or the Chafford Hundred rail station unless in the company of an appropriate adult.
He was also banned from entering Tesco Express in Lakeside Business Village and Tesco Extra Lakeside in Cygnet View, Grays.
“Lakeside is a thriving and busy shopping centre which attracts millions of people from across the region and my team, working in partnership with Lakeside shopping centre, are there to ensure that visitors and retail staff stay safe.
“They are supported by the centre’s management and security teams and have also built great relationships with people who work there. These connections mean they can respond swiftly to incidents and identify potential suspects.
“Crime prevention is also an important part of their job and they can call on specialist colleagues to help them to solve issues they identify which improves safety within and outside the centre and within individual businesses and shops.”
Thurrock District Commander Chief Inspector Tony Atkin
“Over the years the on-site police team have proved invaluable, working alongside our team to ensure a safe and secure environment for customers and retailers to enjoy.
“Whilst we have built a solid relationship with our local community policing team, it’s important to mention the support we get from the wider Essex Police force, who provide additional support in times of need, as well as quick responses to potential issues that could have escalated unnecessarily.”
Lakeside Shopping Centre Director Howard Oldstein
In the wider area, Grays Community Policing Team works with Thurrock Council to implement a public spaces protection order (PSPO) covering West Thurrock.
This prevents car cruising, spectating, anti-social behaviour and anti-social driving. A driver can be issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice for each offence committed. Fixed penalty notices can also be issued to passengers of offending vehicles and spectators.
In October 2022, interim gang injunctions were issued against eight teenagers after investigations by our West Operation Raptor Team and earlier this month full gang injunctions were authorised against four of them for 12 months. The other four have had their interim gang injunctions extended until August 2023. In December 2022, interim gang injunctions were issued against a further eight men.
There are a number of conditions attached, which include being prohibited from entering Lakeside shopping centre, Grays High Street, the train station and various other streets other than for employment, education or healthcare reasons and the teenagers must be accompanied by an appropriate adult. They are also prohibited from associating with other people considered to be members of their gang.
If you see something which you feel needs police attention, or you have information about a crime, anti-social behaviour or criminal activity, ring 999 if it is an emergency or a crime in progress, otherwise you can report it online at www.essex.police.uk/ro where you can also speak to an online Live Chat operator on weekdays between 10am and 9pm. Alternatively, you can ring 101.
You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, online or by calling 0800 555 111.
Our Business Crime Team specialises in supporting businesses, working to build relationships with independent shops and retail chains, explaining how they can report crime to us and, just as importantly, what will happen when they do.
They help to identify risks in the workplace, providing crime prevention, fraud and cyber-crime advice and strengthening links with businesses and partners, including local community safety partnerships, Essex Chambers of Commerce and the Essex Federation of Small Businesses.
Working with the National Business Crime Centre, the team share nationally-identified crime trends and best practice with our business community. And they have also developed a comprehensive guide to business crime prevention which identifies steps business-owners can take to protect themselves and their properties.