Tackling serious violence in Essex
We’re relentlessly driving down violent crime and are working hard to keep it that way through enforcement, education and intervention.
Lives are lost needlessly or changed forever because of violence involving weapons and we are determined to do everything we can to prevent more people from suffering the devastation it causes.
Our ongoing work is making a difference, and we’ve seen 629 fewer victims of violence with injury offences in the year to the end of June, a drop of just over 4%. This equates just over seven offences per 1,000 people in Essex.
We’ve also seen a 13% reduction in knife enabled crime across Essex. These are crimes where a knife or sharp object is used in offences including attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, rape or sexual assault, homicide, robbery, and threats to kill.
We’ve also seen 185 fewer crimes recorded for possession of an offensive weapon, a drop of almost 13%, in the 12 months to June.
Your chances of being a victim of violent crime are low but we are committed to trying to drive this down further.
We use intelligence-led policing to carry out proactive patrols, use stop and search powers to catch offenders, and to gather evidence to identify and arrest suspects.
We are also proactively seizing weapons to prevent violent crime from happening in the first place.
We’ve also been working closely with UK Border Force to tackle the importation of illegal weapons and drugs.
UK Border Force staff identify suspicious packages that come in via international mail and pass them to us for investigation.
Between August last year and April this year, they seized 131 knives, batons, knuckle dusters, stun guns and realistic imitation firearms.
When these weapons are seized, officers speak to the individuals who buy them and identify those who knowingly commit offences and others who don’t realise they have items that are illegal in the UK.
Depending on the circumstances, this has resulted them being arrested or having their homes searched, or they were dealt with by way of caution, community resolution, or being referred to a diversionary scheme.
This work complements changes in legislation that came into force last week, which makes it illegal to possess certain prohibited weapons in private premises.
We are also targeting solo drug dealers, county lines gangs and organised crime groups, whose illegal businesses are closely associated with violence and weapon-carrying.
Since January, so far we’ve made 254 arrests and seized £204,688 in assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Working with partners
We also work closely with partners, including councils, businesses such as clubs and bars, and the British Transport Police to help keep people safe.
However, enforcement alone will not tackle the root causes of why people become involved in violent crime and knife crime.
The reasons behind why these offences are committed are closely associated with factors such as drug and alcohol dependency, gangs and domestic abuse. And there are wider socio-economic issues too, such as poverty, poor mental health, and lack of opportunities.
Among the minority of people who carry knives, some do so because they are afraid themselves and think a weapon will protect them.
As part of our partnership work to tackle these issues, we are part of a multi-agency Violence and Vulnerability Unit, which is mainly focused on gangs, county lines and child criminal and sexual exploitation.
It brings together agencies including Essex Police, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC), Youth Offending Service, Probation Service, councils and health service to work together to share information, tackle crime and safeguard vulnerable victims.
They also work closely with charities and community projects that support young people who are at risk of being exploited and being involved in crime.