We're determined to keep driving down violent crime in Essex.
Lives are needlessly lost or changed forever because of violence involving weapons. Through enforcement, education and intervention, we believe we can prevent more people from suffering the devastating effects of violent crime.
Thankfully, in Essex, crimes involving knives is rare. Most people in Essex have not been, and will not be, a victim of knife crime.
And our ongoing work is making a difference. In 2023, there was an 11.2 per cent reduction in crimes where a knife or sharp object was used - that's 190 fewer offences. But we are never complacent and there is always more that we can do to help.
Are you worried about someone?
Are you worried that someone you know could be being exploited by County Line gangs or Organised Crime Group activity?
Are they returning home late? Staying out all night? Or even going missing for days or weeks at a time?
Are they being secretive about who they are talking to, or where they are going?
Or maybe you’ve noticed they have large amounts of money. Or new clothing, jewellery or phones they wouldn’t be able to afford.
Through independent charity Fearless, you can pass on information 100% anonymously to get them help. Fearless is not connected to any police service.
Drug supply and violent crime
Sadly, knife crime and serious violence is often linked to the sale and supply of illegal drugs. We have specialist teams who dismantle and disrupt drug gangs operating in Essex. This includes those involved in County Line gangs.
In 2023, our Operation Raptor and Orochi teams, secured more than 800 years in prison sentences for drug dealers. This was a direct result of solid cases built against those who cause harm in our communities.
During this time, the teams executed 168 warrants. They took around 6kg of illegal drugs off our streets and seized £261,000 in criminal profits.
Over the last three years, drug offences in Essex have fallen by 21 per cent. 1471 fewer offences were recorded.
We target individual drug dealers, County Line gangs and organised crime groups (OCGs), whose illegal businesses are closely linked with violence and weapon-carrying.
But tackling drug-related crime and the associated violence is not only about enforcement. We work with local organisations who focus on protecting vulnerable people. This includes those who are exploited by County Line gangs.
Our Prevent, Prepare and Protect team work alongside Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU). Essex VVU is made up of public service and local organisations. They share a common goal of protecting young and vulnerable people and preventing their involvement in violent crime.
Within our Operation Raptor teams, we also have safeguarding officers. These officers work to identify those who are being exploited by County Line gangs. They will work to protect the victim and put them in contact with support organisations. Last year we made 460 referrals to partner agencies. This included social care, housing and alcohol and drug support services.
During 2023, we helped around 58 people a month. 69 per cent of these people did not go onto be involved with further crime.
Where can you get help?
Keeping people safe is at the heart of what we do.
Drugs are illegal for a very real reason. They are dangerous and cause real harm.
We would urge people not to take any illegal substance. You can never be sure what you are taking.
There is help available from local drug addiction services. We urge users to reach out to them.
Open Road is a charity offering specialist drug recovery support services. They are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm on 0844 499 132.
We use intelligence-led policing to carry out proactive patrols. The information we gather enables us to deter violent offenders and prevent serious and violent crime in our communities.
Operation Grip is a hotspot policing model. This nationally recognised approach is based upon statistics. It helps us to identify areas in our county that have a higher probability of serious, violent incident taking place.
Using this information we arrange for uniformed police officers to patrol the area. We know that having police officers visible in an area, deters crime. Officers can also detect behaviour that could escalate into violent actions and prevent it from happening.
We utilise technology such as weapon detector systems along with stop and search powers to remove knives from our streets before they can cause harm. We make sure those carrying weapons are held accountable. And we lookout for those who could be at risk of being exploited or hurt so that we can get them the right support.
We seize weapons to prevent violent crime from happening in the first place.
We work with UK Border Force to disrupt the importation of illegal weapons and drugs. Border Force identify suspicious packages sent through the international mail system. They seize the item and pass it to our officers to investigate.
Sometimes people don't realise the item they've bought is illegal in the UK. When this happens we work to educate. But when people knowingly try to import illegal items into the UK, we will take action. Depending on the offence committed, offenders could have their homes or places of work searched. They could be arrested, cautioned, given a community resolution or referred to a scheme, such as addiction support services.
From September 2024, it will be illegal to have zombie-style knives and machetes.