A CRACK team of detectives - dedicated to solving the most serious of crimes - will return to the Island’s police station within days.

And the top priority for the CID team of 13 detectives will be solving the recent spate of armed robberies which has left shopkeepers and residents leaving in fear.

The announcement comes not a moment too soon for residents on the Island who have suffered seven armed raids in the last six weeks, including one where raiders were armed with guns.

The new Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston has already visited Canvey for an urgent meeting with MP Rebecca Harris, police and businesses about the crimewave where he vowed to beef up the presence of officers.

Supt Andy Prophet - the man in charge of policing in Castle Point, Rochford, Basildon and Southend - has wasted no time in setting up the new CID team.

From Saturday the nine detective constables and three detectives sergeants, who will be led by Det Insp Colin Norton, will be permanently based at Canvey Island police station full time.

They will work in teams of four - made up of three constables and a sergeant - and will provide round the clock cover to solve the most serious of crimes including violent attacks and armed robberies.

As well as solving crimes in Castle Point they will also deal with crimes in the neighbouring boroughs of Southend and Basildon.

Supt Prophet said: “As of Saturday we will have a pro-active CID team based at Canvey and they will start and end their day there.

“They will work from the station every day, on early and late shifts, and hopefully it will give people reassurance to know that the station has detectives in it and working from it.

“I understand people’s concerns around these robberies, but I want them to know that i’m listening to those concerns and every bit of effort is going into solving these.

“I have told this team of detectives that solving these crimes is their top priority.”

In January 2011 the Echo told how several response officers - who work around the clock and respond to 999 calls - were being moved from their base at Canvey police station in Long Road.

That left just neighbourhood officers based at the station, prompting concerns that the Island would be left vulnerable.

Last week police and crime commissioner Nick Alston unveiled a five point action plan in the wake of the armed raids, including measures such as bolstering police numbers and cover.

The creation of the CID unit at Canvey is part of another reshuffle taking place in Essex Police as the force continues to make£44million of savings by 2014 as it copes with sweeping budget cuts.