Southend: Seven found guilty after operation targeting repeat offenders
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An operation to crack down on criminal behaviour in Southend's shopping areas has seen four people sent to prison for a total of 16 months and another three awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of a total of 46 offences.
The five men and two women were arrested after the Southend Town Centre Team launched Operation Raker to target persistent offenders who were responsible for a number of thefts, assaults and public order offences.
They have also been ordered to pay more than £650 in compensation to their victims.
The operation is led by Sergeant Steve Wells of the Southend Town Centre Team.
He said: “We identified we had an issue with repeat offenders in the district who were linked to a number of different cases. We decided to consolidate that work under one team and we are now proactively focussing on these habitual offenders.
“We have two officers dedicated to Op Raker who are analysing crime data and reaching out to retailers locally to find out who has been causing them problems.
“We are now picking up nominals who are committing two or three offences and preventing their behaviour from escalating.”
Sgt Wells said some of the individuals are committing crime to fund their addictions to alcohol and drugs and that early intervention has seen them engaging with rehabilitation services.
However, his team’s priority is to make sure Southend remains a safe place for those using the city's shops and restaurants.
“This offending, with its links to drugs and anti-social behaviour, will not be tolerated and it’s important we send a robust message to those responsible.
“We are taking decisive action, which includes including imposing and enforcing Criminal Behaviour Orders that limits where offenders can go and what they can do.
“We are setting the tone for the High Street and surrounding area. Anyone committing crime or behaving anti-socially will not get away with it.
“The feedback so far from local businesses and our community partners has been excellent and the results so far show how seriously we take tackling this problem.”
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