Colchester: Extra city centre patrols on Friday and Saturday nights
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Extra officers will be on patrol in Colchester on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout February following feedback that people have felt vulnerable when out in the city.
As a result of a survey conducted in collaboration with Our Colchester – the city’s business improvement district (BID) team – nine uniformed and plain clothes officers will provide a visible presence in the city centre to look out for anyone who may need help and step in to manage any potential flashpoints.
Another officer will be stationed with the council’s CCTV team to alert colleagues to any potential incidents.
They are in addition to members of Colchester’s local and community policing teams who will be on duty and attending incidents as usual. In the past 12 months, crime is down by 8.7% in Colchester, sexual offences fell by 17.3% and incidents of violence were down by 8.5%.
Detective Inspector Karen Miller coordinates Operation Grip hotspot patrols across the county. She said the increased number of officers in the city would help the public to feel safer and protect people who get into difficulty or become isolated and unable to get home.
“People told us about their experiences in the city centre and that there were times they’d felt vulnerable. These included when they’d been waiting for taxis or public transport, become separated from their friends, or had a little too much to drink.
“We’re working together with the local venues and engaging with door staff to identify people who are vulnerable and making sure they get to the SOS bus or find their friends if they’ve lost them.
“We have also been talking to taxi and bus drivers to alert them to signs of vulnerability and we’ve handed them information about what they need to do and who they need to contact if they spot someone who needs help.
“This weekend, we helped a female who was inebriated and took her to the SOS bus, there was a youth who’d lost his friends and phone and we got him back in contact with his family, and we were able to de-escalate an aggressive confrontation outside a nightclub.”
DI Miller added that the key to the operation was the strong relationships the team has with the council and local businesses, and that by working together they are reassuring the public and helping to prevent instances of trouble in the city.
“Colchester is a safe place for a night out. Our officers are there to keep people safe and if you see them on patrol, please say hello and let them know if you have any issues or concerns. We are here to help you.”
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