THE man in charge of cutting crime in Essex is holding an emergency meeting to help combat armed robberies in Canvey.

Since January the island has been hit by twelve armed robberies, with six in the past five weeks, putting businesses and residents on edge.

A gun was pulled on staff at Canvey Amusements, in Furtherwick Road, in the latest attack last Sunday, which saw masked robbers make off with a four figure sum of money.

Now, on his first day on the job, newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has organised a meeting with local politicians, senior police officers and business owners to devise a plan to help tackle the crime spree.

This comes after the Echo reported how traders who have not been targeted confessed they feel under threat and that they could be next on the robbery hit list.

Mr Alston, who was elected into power last Friday, said: “I'm here to listen and learn from residents, business owners, the police and everyone in the community. Criminals need to be caught and face swift and sure justice.

“I want to ensure the police, the town council and the local community safety partnership work together to devise and deliver the best possible plan to keep Canvey safe."

The meeting, which will be held this afternoon, was arranged at the request of Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris and veteran Canvey councillor Ray Howard.

Mrs Harris said: “We need to turn back the tide of these armed robberies and residents do not feel that the police approach so far has been working. This is exactly what we need Police and Crime Commissioners for, to ensure that the police listen to the concerns of the local community.

“Nick was already aware of this problem but I called him the night he got elected and requested that he make tackling these robberies a priority. I am delighted he is visiting Canvey to address these robberies on his very first full day in the role."

The aim of the commissioner is to reduce crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service.

Some of their powers include appointing and dismissing chief constables, setting out a five-year police and crime plan, determine local policing priorities, and setting the annual force budget.