NEW ‘intensive’ police patrols in Southend which sees officers turn up to trouble hotspots for just 15 minutes has triggered a big drop in crime... and will now be rolled out across the country.

Operation Grip, which is the brainchain of Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Basford, sees officers patrolling areas on random days.

In Southend there are 20 hot spots in and around the seafront and town, and police believe the presence gives the criminals the impression officers are in the area all the time.

The patrols were first trialled in Southend last year and police bosses say they recorded a 73.5 per cent drop in violent crime and 31.9 per cent fall in street crime.

They maintain that lockdown did not impact the figures.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP visited Southend yesterday for a briefing on the scheme as well as a patrol to see the officers in action.

Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Basford designed the hotspot policing as part his Masters degree in Criminology from Cambridge University.


He said: “We wouldn’t publicly identify these areas as we want to put police in the right places at the right time and these areas will become hot and cold.

“These are not bad areas and we don’t want people to think that.

“These are micro-locations. We do have a couple near the seafront, most are not on the seafront, but tend to be an area where traffic and people come together.

“The whole force is embedded and working on this, all at various different times, every officer has a part to play in this.

“From the operation support group, to the dog team and the armed officers when they are not deployed, all the teams are involved.”

Eighteen police forces across England and Wales will now receive a share of an additional £4.12 million to increase Hotspot Policing in towns and cities blighted by violent crime.

He added the Covid lockdowns did not affect the drop in crimes and it will continue to be effective He said: “We had to work with the environment and the time we had, but when we did the study and analysis, it was in the time that premises had started to open up and the rate of footfall was good.


“The nature of it means we can compare areas and we know it was the police presence which was the positive affect.

“We can use the same tactic and we know it’s worked. We will see a reduction in county lines drug dealing in Southend and more emphasis on those causing harm.”

He said the results showed there can be a three or four day delay from the patrol and the crime resuming.

The 18 forces most affected by serious violence, where crimes led to hospital admissions are: Metropolitan Police, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Lancashire, Essex, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire and South Wales.