A POLICE operation to curb summer crime has seen a reduction of 800 calls.

Operation Sunshine, which was launched in June to address the increase in crime that hits Southend every summer, has so far seen 881 fewer calls to police.

Last year in June, July and August, Southend saw crimes rise by 15 per cent when compared to the next closest district and July alone saw crime up 50 per cent then when compared to February.

The latest figures, released by police to the Echo, found in July alone, police received 627 fewer calls to incidents compared to last year. It equals a 12 per cent reduction.

Chief inspector Simon Anslow, district commander for Southend, said: “I am delighted as it has been an extremely challenging month. July is statistically the busiest month for us and it has proven just that.

“At the beginning of July we were sending a lot of officers to Colchester following the murder there. Then we had to deal with the demands of the murder. It’s very satisfying to reach the end of the month and look back and see all that hard work has led to fewer people needing to call us.”

Chief Insp Anslow started his crackdown on crimes by listing the top 15 areas where incidents were reported. He has been sending extra patrols to 13 streets around the Southend neighbourhood policing area, with some included twice as the long roads fall under different beat patrols.

They are: High Street, Prittlewell Chase, Hamlet Court Road, two areas of York Road, Western Esplanade, Fairfax Drive, Kursaal Way, two areas of London Road, Southchurch Road, Warrior Square, Colman Street, Victoria Avenue and Marine Parade.

In these areas alone, police have seen 166 fewer incidents in June and July, which is an 11 per cent reduction. York Road has had 20 fewer incidents, or an 11 per cent reduction, while Southend seafront has had a 28 per cent reduction in incidents.

But work still needs to be done after night-time economy hot spot Warrior Square was found to have seen a 48 per cent spike in calls, or 25 more incidents, compared to the previous year.

Ch Insp Anslow added: “I know Warrior Square is an area we have focussed heavily on so there may be some of the increased incidents which have been police generated. CCTV has really good coverage of the area as well so a lot of those jobs will be created because CCTV is looking at it so they might give us a call.

“While the cause isn’t immediately known to me, that street needs to be a real focus for us going forward in Operation Sunshine this month.”

He added: “Overall I’m really pleased. We specifically focused our patrols in reducing nuisance antisocial behaviour and concern for safety incidents – such as missing people and disturbances.

The early signs are we have achieved significant reduction in those incidents. I can’t put specific figures on them yet, but we are looking at about 20 per cent reduction.”