EXTRA patrols have been taking place in Basildon neighbourhood to combat anti-social behaviour.

A zone has been established in Elm Green that covers the residential area surrounding retail park following reports of activity related to drug dealing, nuisance bikes and street drinking.

Officers from Basildon Community Policing Team and Basildon Council’s community safety wardens will complete more than 2,000 hours of patrols and conduct dedicated nights of action and community outreach sessions in the next six months.

Sergeant Harry Shelton of Basildon Community Policing Team said: “Anti-social behaviour is one of our top priorities and we have increased the number of high-visibility foot patrols in areas where there have been issues.

“Over the last year, we’ve had incidents of anti-social behaviour - particularly involving under-18s - that have caused disruption and had a significant impact on the community.

“Regular high-visibility patrols have an impact on offending and Op Dial is continuing to show that. The community know the police are there and this is a deterrent for potential offenders.”

Anti-social behaviour has fallen by 32.5 per cent in Basildon in past 12 months, with 992 fewer incidents reports in the year to the end of August compared to the previous year.

In the first two months of the operation, officers have made 24 arrests, carried out 73 stop searches, issued 30 fixed penalty notices, and given 14 informal warnings across the 11 Dial zones.

Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has invested £1.1m to combat ASB in eleven hotspot areas across the county.

The funding is provided by the central government as part of its anti-social behaviour strategy and is designed to deliver high-visibility patrols, public engagement, targeted youth outreach and early intervention.

Sergeant Shelton added: “Local residents are happy to see us out on patrol and we’ve been keen to use social media to demonstrate where the team have been.

“We have a very close relationship with the council’s community safety wardens. They work alongside us to provide a high-visibility presence and we meet every morning to make sure all concerns from members of the public are being addressed.

“It’s really important that the public continue to report incidents to us. Whether it’s anti-social behaviour or concerns about drugs, gangs or violence, always report it because it improves our intelligence picture. There is work continually going behind the scenes to prevent criminality and arrest offenders.”