A new team helping improve Southend town centre has dealt with 128 instances of anti-social drinking and 74 instances of begging in the first three weeks.

The team of six community safety officers are now patrolling the streets of Southend, helping to tackle intimidating and anti-social behaviour aiming to make the town safer.

Since the patrols started in October 15, the teams have also dealt with 46 street drinking incidents, assisted police with 18 crimes, helped at 22 first aid incidents and reported 11 health and safety issues to the council.

They were also able to support two long-term rough sleepers into accommodation and help others get help and support.

Comments from members of the public and traders have so far been very positive.

One person said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to one of your community safety officers. My mother-in law had a fall in the High Street and he looked after her until I could get to her. Even when I did arrive at the scene of where she had the accident he still did not leave and walked with myself and her to the car.”

Another person added: “Popped into the High Street and it seemed calmer down there with the presence of the new team. Very good to see across central Southend providing reassurance to shoppers.”

Councillor James Courtenay, deputy leader of the council, said: “It is clear that the uniformed and visible presence is welcomed by shoppers and businesses alike. I am particularly pleased to hear that the new officers have been supporting the hard work our housing and outreach teams already do and have played a part in helping two rough sleepers into supported temporary accommodation.

“This is not just about high visibility and presence. It is about ensuring those who want and need help and support, are given it.”

Dennis Baldry, chairman of Southend BID, said: “We have already seen some huge improvements and universal praise for the efforts being made and the results achieved so far.

“Aggressive begging during normal business hours has massively reduced and, on some days, has been non-existent. The partnership approach has also seen some fantastic results, with several entrenched members of our street community now in accommodation and engaging with local services. It is a great start and I think will give the new partnership extra focus on the task of delivering a safe and inviting environment for all to enjoy.’’