Op Community: Royal Military Police join officers for Grip patrols in Colchester
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The Royal Military Police joined forces with members of our Operational Support Group (OSG), local and community policing teams for hotspot patrols in Colchester city centre.
The team of 16 officers set up the OpenGate weapons detection system at locations in and around Head Street and the bus station, handed out ‘Patrolling to Prevent Crime’ information to members of the public and visited shops where had been recent thefts and anti-social behaviour.
More than 500 people spoke to the officers or passed through the OpenGate, which is a more mobile and less conspicuous than a conventional knife arch and is specifically designed to detect dense metal objects.
Colchester has two Operation Grip zones – areas that see intensive, high-visibility hotspot patrols to tackle street crime.
DI Karen Miller, the force coordinator of Op Grip, explained the purpose of the patrols.
She said: “We are increasing patrols in specific hotspot areas where there have been incidents, including knife crime. The aim is to prevent serious violence, engage with and reassure the public, and showcase the OpenGate weapons detection system.
“Any high-visibility deployment of police is a deterrent but alongside the OpenGate, we have our behavioural detection officers out, so they will see people looking to avoid us and those are the people we want to engage with.
“Knife crime has reduced in Essex by 5.1%. In the 18 months we have been running Grip operations across the county, we have seized a number of weapons and made arrests but the biggest impact we’ve had is engaging with the community and making them feel safe.”
DI Miller added that the joint patrol with the RMP was an example of the force’s commitment to having a close working relationship with local partners:
“We have completed deployments with the Royal Military Police before at events such as the Remembrance parades, but this is first time we have done an Op Grip deployment together and it is hopefully something we can continue to do.”
Captain Cullum Marrs, Policing Captain of 156 Provost Company, added that his officers were always keen to be seen in the community and that this operation continues a strong relationship with Essex Police:
“With the garrison in Colchester, we do a lot of join patrols with Essex Police and we end up interacting closely on a lot of jobs, so this is the perfect opportunity for us to work together on an operation.”
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