BASILDON needs more police officers on the streets to combat the drugs problem across the borough, according to the council leader.

Gavin Callaghan met with Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst about a number of issues, among them were the rising problem of drugs across Basildon, Billericay and Wickford.

Mr Callaghan, who in the meeting also pushed for Billericay, Wickford, Basildon, Pitsea and Laindon to get their fair share of the new 20,000 police officers which Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to implement, said: “We’ve seen a reduction of 850 Essex Police officers since 2010.

“This clearly has had a knock-on effect, with crime rising by over 17per cent in the last year, particularly those involving violence, drugs and weapons.

“Although we have eight new police officers in the borough already, we need more.”

He also raised his concerns about the future of Wickford and Pitsea police stations, the ongoing issues with crime in Hovefields and the rise in bikers abusing our parks.

Mr Callaghan added: “Residents are consistently having to deal with anti-social behaviour, having bricks thrown through their windows and bikes causing havoc in our parks.

“Hovefields and Northlands Park has seen a rise in the number of bikes which are driving into people, damaging the grass, it’s become such a big issue. More police would mean they can respond quickly.”

Mr Callaghan hopes that himself and the commissioner will be able to work with the Metropolitan Police to gather intelligence on criminals from London boroughs being housed in Basildon. He continued: “Having this information will ensure Essex Police know who are coming into our boroughs and how any conflict with rival gangs can be reduced. It was a productive meeting and I’m confident additional resources will be coming.”

Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I’ve been involved in the design of the policy to recruit 20,000 new police officers, and there is zero chance that Essex will miss out.”