VIOLENT crime continues to surge across Southend and south Essex, worrying statistics have revealed.

Castle Point has seen the biggest increase with 324 more violent offences taking place between April and August this year - an increase of 51 per cent on the same period in 2017.

Basildon has seen the second biggest increase of 628 offences or 32 per cent while Southend comes in third with 642 more offences - an increase of 28 per cent on last year.

However, Southend has seen the second biggest increase in overall crime across Essex - at 22 per cent only beaten by Braintree at 27 per cent.

Council Leader John Lamb said they are supporting the police to do all they can.

He added: “A lot of this is coming from London and we are working to target this hence why the council invested £250,000 into the town centre safety team. The increase is all across Essex - not just in Southend - and the additional police we have got coming will also have an influence.”

Overall, Essex has seen a 14 per cent rise in crime, with a 33 per cent rise in violent offences but has seen a fall in antisocial behaviour. Castle Point council leader Norman Smith has described the figures as “disappointing” and said they will now be meetings with senior officers.

The conservative councillor added: “I am very disappointed to see that Castle Point has seen the biggest increase across south Essex. I think the fear of crime can often be worse than the reality sometimes.

"We will be meeting with the police to discuss the figures and I will be meeting with police commissioner to see what can be done.”

Supt Nick Morris said: “Sadly a number of areas in Essex and indeed the country are experiencing an increase in the number of violent offences which are being committed. 

"This trend is being experienced nationally. These increases concern us which is why we are putting 150 more police officers on the streets of the county next year to bolster our resources and our capability to not only respond to incidents as they occur but also to conduct investigations.

"It’s important to note that fewer than eight people in every 1,000 in Essex experience violence with injury crimes; compared to the average of its most similar group of forces, Essex residents are less likely, per 1,000 population, to be victims of violence with injury offences.  Fewer than one in every 1,000 experience robbery.

"There have also been changes in the way stalking and harassment offences are recorded by police forces which has resulted in figures for these crimes showing a disproportionate increase.

"Figures released for violent crime also include incidents of a domestic nature; around 35 per cent of violence against the person offences involve domestic abuse.

"Reducing the number of incidents of domestic abuse is a key priority for Essex Police and we continue to urge anyone suffering any form of abuse to report it to us.

"We work proactively to target operations around high-risk perpetrators and prolific offenders and our activity remains intelligence-led.

"In both Basildon and Rochford we have seen reductions in offences of violence with injury – 53 fewer offences in Basildon and 44 less in Rochford.

"Operation Sceptre is currently running across the county to focus on knife-related crime. We also work closely with the charity Only Cowards Carry to dissuade people from carrying knives.

"Notably in Southend officers ran Operation Southend in August to reduce violent crime.

"During the operation 16 people were arrested for various offences including drugs, weapons, vehicle crime and theft.

"We saw a drop in crime of nearly 15 per cent across the borough during the operation and a reduction of nearly 29 per cent in the town centre specifically.

"The prevention of crime is not solely a police responsibility and as such we work closely with our council colleagues and local voluntary organisations to ensure our towns are safe places to live, work and visit.”