Tackling the issues raised by residents of the Greenstead Estate was the focus of the latest Street Weeks initiative in Colchester.
Members of the Safer Colchester Partnership spoke to residents living in and around Forest Road and Magnolia Drive to find out more about their concerns and what matters to them most.
In all, 268 households completed a questionnaire, which helped partner agencies to organise activities to tackle the issues in the week from Thursday 21 February to Thursday 28 February.
* High visibility patrols around the Greenstead estate and University of Essex.
* Stop and search powers were used to identify anyone carrying weapons or drugs. As a result, two people were given cannabis warnings, and two men aged 30 and 56 from Dagenham were arrested on suspicion of theft and released under investigation while our enquiries continue.
* The Volunteer Police Cadets assisted with a search of Magnolia Fields to look for any weapons that might have been hidden by criminals for future use. Drugs paraphernalia and a bag of suspected drugs was found.
* Speed checks in Avon Way, dealing with anti-social riding of motorbikes on the Salary Brook Trail, using automatic numberplate recognition technology to identify and disrupt criminal activity, and checking for anyone committing road traffic offences. In total, 32 fixed penalty notices were issued for driving offences and eight drivers were given verbal warnings.
* Community engagement events at the Greenstead Community Centre and University of Essex. Organisations involved included Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Only Cowards Carry, Colchester Borough Council, the Samaritans, Anglian Community Enterprise, the Royal Military Police, the University of Essex Students’ Union, Community 360.
Other partners that took part in Street Weeks included the North Essex Parking Partnership, Neighbourhood Watch, and Active Citizens.
The Street Weeks project is supported by £10,000 funding from Colchester Borough Council as part of its Better Colchester campaign to make Colchester an even better place to live, work in and visit
Sergeant Rob Temme said: “Street Weeks is all about listening to residents and getting the right organisations involved to fix the problems they highlight, and I want to thank all our officers, volunteers and partners who contributed works.
“The action taken last week is in addition to our every day policing and partnership working in the area, and I want to thank residents for taking the time to talk to us and to report issues to us. The information we received was really important to help us identifying and tackling problems, and I continue to urge people to report crime to us.
“You can do this in a number of ways, both face to face, online or on the phone, and you are also welcome at any of our Coffee with Cops and other meetings. These are listed on Facebook – search for Essex Police Colchester – and on the Essex Police website at www.essex.police.uk/your-area/colchester.”
Cllr Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Public Safety and Licensing, said: “Initiatives like Street Weeks are a fantastic way for a wide range of partners to come together and work with local communities to tackle their concerns.
“We are committed to working with communities, the police and other community safety partners to develop even closer ways of sharing information and to work together to achieve the aim of having even safer communities. It is only by joint initiatives like Street Weeks we can turn this ambition into a reality.”
Byrn Morris, University of Essex registrar, said: “We value highly our partnership with Essex Police and look forward to working even more closely with them in the future.
"The Street Weeks initiative has helped to forge links between the police and our students, building co-operation and confidence amongst members of the university community.”
Street Weeks is about finding out what people want improved in their areas and then taking action, whether that’s disrupting criminal activity, dealing with anti-social behaviour, managing inconsiderate parking or tidying up estates.
This was our fifth Street Weeks and another will be held this summer.