THE time has come for police to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach to serious crime, a councillor has declared.

Southend’s community safety chief Martin Terry was speaking after Home Secretary Sajid Javid said public bodies such as the police, councils and NHS trusts have a legal duty to work together to prevent crime.

Independent Mr Terry said: “Mr primary objective as a Southend councillor and representative for community safety is to get more uniformed and fully powered police officers in Southend to deliver crime reduction.

“I am angry that the Government has chosen to drop the most important component of this public health approach and that is, it needs to be combined with a zero-tolerance approach to policing.

“There has got to be a deterrent. If there isn’t, people will continue to behave badly.

“People have to know that if they commit a crime, whether that is breaking into someone’s home or robbing a bank, they have to know there will be consequences.”

He added residents of Southend are not receiving their fair share of officers which are distributed across the county and he is campaigning for more.

Tony Cox, leader of the Southend Conservatives, said “The government’s multi-agency approach to tackling serious violent crime will have a real positive affect in Southend, which has seen a sharp rise [in crime].

“With agencies sharing intelligence we will be able to identify victims of serious crime faster, and more importantly stop people who could easily become involved in violent crimes for a variety of reasons ranging from debt, to drug addiction to mental health.”

Castle Point Council leader Norman Smith added it is “crazy” that public bodies don’t already share information.

He said: “If all the various bodies speak to each other that makes absolute sense.

“With regards to extra police, the crime commissioner Roger Hirst has already promised additional policing for Essex and new officers are in training and that will start to come into fruition in a matter of months, so there will be more bobbies on the beat.

“In Castle Point we already have information sharing between the transport police informing the teams here when drug runners are coming from London to the suburbs and that kind of information sharing helps us to get a bigger picture of what is going on.

He added that it is also a positive that schools and health trusts will be involved in the new measure because it will be vital in prevention work.

Essex Police defended the number of officers operating in the county, adding there has been significant investment in policing with 150 extra officers last year and 215 this year.

Bosses also pointed to Town Centre Teams which are set to be launched in 23 locations - including in Southend.

Southend District Commander Neil Pudney said: “We are able to do a lot of excellent proactive policing work with Op Raptor South and the proactive team within our Local Policing Team, who have arrested 300 people since they were created last year.

“The new officers in the Town Centre Team will continue to strengthen our ability to prevent crime.”