INCREASED patrols by volunteer police officers have helped with a dramatic reductions in burglary and vehicle crime, Essex Police announced.

Across two months, Special Constables have assisted by patrolling areas of Southend that residents raised concerns about in a local community meeting.

The operation, led by Sgt Martin Knights from the Southend community policing team, ran across an eight-week period and involved more than 50 Specials volunteering their time to help keep Southend safe.

More than 1,100 patrols were conducted throughout October and November and the Special Constables volunteered to support the majority of this operation alongside full-time officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

A number of areas were identified by members of the public at the local community meeting and officers targeted their patrols in three of the areas of the borough - Milton, Victoria and Kursaal.

Following this operation, police have reported that burglary had been cut in half, vehicle crime has decreased 25 per cent and reports of anti-social behaviour in another area decreased by 35 per cent.

Sgt Martin Knights said: “This is a prime example of ‘you said, we did’.

“We attended the local meeting and listened to residents and put a plan in place to tackle their concerns.

“Members of the public are our eyes and ears so if anyone has any ongoing issues in their area, we urge them to attend the local meetings to talk to us. The details of the meetings can be found on the Essex Police website.

“Our Special Constables have played a vital part in making Southend a safer place. Their volunteering hours have had a direct and positive impact on our communities.”

Special Constables are volunteer police officers who have the same policing powers as regular officers but sacrifice their free time to help out by policing in the community.

For more information about local community meetings you can visit: