South Essex will get brand new town centre police teams from today.

Investment in more policing in town centres will place 58 officers in 23 locations across the county.

Officers in "Town Centre Teams" will focus on community concerns, including drug dealing and antisocial behaviour. Under the guidance of their sergeants, they will work closely with businesses and support groups to get to the root of ongoing issues and tensions and investigate appropriately.

Businesses experiencing issues with the night time economy, like bars and clubs, will also be supported in the reduction of crime and antisocial behaviour.

In South Essex, officers will be servicing Basildon, Billericay, Canvey, Rayleigh, Rochford, Southend and Wickford.

Through monitoring reported crime, detailed discussions with district commanders about areas of need, targeted public surveys, and consideration of town population, the force has been able to target towns which will most clearly benefit from an increase in police presence.

Our Gypsy Traveller and Rural Engagement Team (GTRET) will also be growing from September with four new police constables and a sergeant, followed by additional officers in early 2020. The rural communities face unique challenges and the new officers will work with partner agencies and local communities to tackle issues such as unauthorised traveller encampments, hare coursing and flytipping.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: “My priorities for the force are clear: we will be visible to deter crime in the community, we will provide better and consistent support to victims and to the vulnerable and we will act against anyone who is intent on inflicting violence in our county.

“With the introduction of the Town Centre Teams, we can be at the centre of these conversations. The public know their local area the best, and so do local officers who can put their boots on the ground and their faces in the village hall. If people have got an issue, or suspect criminal acts are taking place in their community, I need them to feel comfortable reporting it to us. If we work together we can keep the tide turning and put a stop to antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, and other insidious crimes that cause irreparable harm to families, friends and whole communities.

“With a record number of officers passing out in a single ceremony last month, our force is continuing to grow. I am so proud that we’re able to have response-trained officers to answer your 999 calls and, on top of that, provide additional officers to your community.”

Here is a breakdown of how the teams are formed across South Essex.

Basildon, Billericay and Wickford - eight new officers


Inspector Rob Maile, from Basildon’s Community Policing Team, said: “I’m really excited to help guide the new Town Centre Teams, and support Sergeant Hogben, into their new roles.

“We know that there are issues the community wants us to have more time, and resource, to tackle. With these officers, we’ll be able to get to the heart of these issues and extend the great work done by existing teams.

“Drug dealing remains a big problem in the area, specifically in Basildon, and we will be using public knowledge and our gathered intelligence to target hotspots where we know deals are taking place. It’s also our duty to support vulnerable people who may be caught up in this lifestyle, as we know that this can have a devastating impact on families and on the community as a whole, so we’ll be working closely with charities and support networks to help as many people as we can.

“Our eight officers have all come from the response team in Basildon, so have a great knowledge of the areas they’ll be policing, and I know they’re ready to get stuck in to being a visible presence and meeting the businesses, community leaders and organisations that make Basildon, Billericay and Wickford so special.”

Councillor Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Council said: “Reducing crime and antisocial behaviour in our town centres is something that residents raise with me and obviously that makes it a priority for the council.

“We are about to embark on reinvigorating and updating the Town Centre masterplans and people feeling safe in a welcoming and vibrant environment will be vital for success and encouraging businesses, residents and visitors to come to our town centres”.

Southend - five new officers


Chief Inspector Neil Pudney said: “As District Commander, I would like to welcome the new members to the Town Centre Team.

“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 TCT will continue to strengthen our ability to prevent crime through early intervention with suspected offenders and enforcement activity.

“This is a really exciting time for policing in Southend and I look forward to seeing the team make a real positive impact for residents, retailers and visitors.”

Councillor Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer care, said: “I am very pleased to be welcoming these extra officers to Southend on behalf of our residents, visitors and local businesses. I’m sure the additional police presence in the town centre will reassure the public. Southend has undoubtedly felt the impact of central Government cuts to police numbers and I will continue to make the case for further investment in frontline police resourcing.

“In addition I know the council’s own community safety patrol team are looking forward to continuing their excellent working relationship with Essex Police to make the town a safer, a more inviting place for people to visit.”

Canvey, Rayleigh, Rochford - six new officers


Inspector Cathy Calder from the Castle Point and Rochford Community Policing Team said: “I am really excited about the opportunities this increase in officers will bring to the district.

“These six officers have come from a mix of policing teams – whether that’s response, community policing or being a detective – and I think their combined skills means they’ll be able to serve their local town centres, and communities, brilliantly.

“I know we’ve had an issue with antisocial behaviour in the district this year, particularly from young people, and I’m keen for the Town Centre Teams to gather local intelligence about what’s going on for this age group in town centres, and work closely with partners to prevent the first steps of crime in our young people.

“By our officers being more visible, we’ll be able to collect an informed picture of what’s going on locally and continue to interrogate the issues that are causing the most harm to our local communities, and put a stop to it.”

Councillor Godfrey Isaacs, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Safer Communities at Castle Point Council, said: “Essex Police and Castle Point Council work closely together to keep the community safe and I am very happy to see that we will have more police officers in the Castle Point area keeping our residents safe.

“I welcome this initiative and look forward to seeing the extra police presence on our streets.”

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, Councillor Mike Webb said: “This will be welcome news to all of us who live and work in the Rochford District and who raise our children here.

“It’s important to remember that this is a low crime district, and the introduction of four new officers for Rochford and Rayleigh will help to keep it that way in future.

“I look forward to working with the team, supporting them in their efforts to tackle incidents of antisocial behaviour and other issues that matter to our local communities.”