Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Essex Police in new crime blitz crackdown
DRUG dealing, car crime, burglaries and street robbery are being targeted in a new police blitz in Southend.
Operation Octavo was launched by officers in Southend’s neighbourhood policing team two weeks ago and has already seen success with several arrests made, drug dealers moved on and burglaries reduced.
Insp Bill Potter, from Southend police, said: “The long hot summer has provided some real challenges for the Southend Neighbourhood Policing team.
"In an effort to continue to meet people’s needs and expectations we have launched a dedicated crime reduction and reassurance initiative.
“By placing more officers in areas of predictable concern we have been able to affect patterns of anti-social behaviour, reports of drug abuse, violent crime, vehicle crime and burglary.”
Since the start of Operation Octavo, police have arrested 53 people for a variety of offences across the whole of Southend and Mr Potter said the new operation has meant they have been able to catch criminals faster.
He said: “We have been able to apprehend people responsible for a variety of offences quickly and efficiently which ordinarily may have taken longer. We apprehended five people for a street robbery as an example and they have been remanded in custody.”
Mr Potter said the crackdown was already leading to a reduction in some crimes.
He added: “The arrests and overall activity has supplemented a reduction in vehicle crime in Southchurch and a reduction in burglaries in Westcliff. We have stopped and spoken to 147 extrapeople in the early hours of the morning and recalled two offenders to prison.”
Hamlet Court Road in Westcliff is one of the areas specifically targeted by Operation Octavo and officers have stepped up high-visibility patrols in response to traders’ concerns raised at a recent meeting. PCSOs Lauren Stoneman and Neil Maycox are two of the officers that regularly patrol Hamlet Court Road.
Lauren said one of the recent successes they had seen was stopping drug dealing and taking in the toilets at the London Road junction of Hamlet Court Road.
She said: “We had a lot of people go in the toilets to use drugs and we set up operations with drug rehabilitation officers from the council. The council put some blue lights into the toilets which stop people being able to see veins so they can’t use drugs.
“We do high visibility patrols so it deters shoplifters and we pop into shops and see people.
"They get to know you and talk to you rather than speaking to a stranger on the phone.”
Traders said they were pleased to see more police out and about in the shopping area of Hamlet Court Road which has traditionally suffered from shoplifting and street beggars.
Janice Jeeves, who works in Corkers off-licence, said: “Without them we would be lost, really.
“There is a lot of trouble in the street but since they have been doing what they do we don’t get as much.
“We don’t seem to have the problems with the toilets we used to have. Just people seeing them in the vicinity is a deterrent.
“They do a good job.”
Operation Octavo is set to continue for the next few weeks and Mr Potter said it also gave officers the opportunity to remind residents and businesses of the steps they can take to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
He added: “This is an ideal time to remind people of keeping vehicles secure and free of obvious items of value, secure number plates with security screws and also to ensure doors and windows to your homes are properly closed.”
Comments are closed on this article.