Incidents of anti-social behaviour in Southend have almost halved in the last twelve months as police have ramped up their patrols in hotspot areas for drug offences and nuisance activity.

The city has two Operation Dial anti-social behaviour hotspot zones, and police have been working with the council and Southend BID to combat incidents in the High Street and surrounding areas.

These dedicated patrols come after Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner invested £1.1million to combat anti-social behaviour in 13 hotspot areas across the county.


The funding is provided by central government to deliver high visibility patrols, public engagement, targeted youth outreach and early intervention.

The two Operation Dial zones in Southchurch Road and Maple Square are patrolled by police and council community safety officers to provide residents with a highly visible presence after reports of drug offences, noise and nuisance activity.

Echo: Police in Christchurch ParkPolice in Christchurch Park (Image: Essex Police)

Since patrolling began in July, 19 arrests have been made in the Dial zones, 12 people have been issued with informal warnings and 51 have been stop searched.

Overall, there were 1,705 fewer reports of anti-social behaviour across the district in 2023 compared to the previous year – a drop of 49.6 per cent.

Trainee inspector Dave Gardiner of Southend community policing team said the dedicated patrols and joined-up approach with the council were helping to drive down offending.

“Anti-social behaviour can ruin people’s lives, and nobody should feel afraid or intimidated in their own neighbourhood. Our team works quickly to get on top of issues before they escalate as ASB can lead to more serious offending,” he commented.

“The area around Maple Square has seen anti-social behaviour related to drug use, and in the zone that covers Southchurch Road, Christchurch Court and Christchurch Road, there have been reports from young people in the park. In the surrounding flats, there had been issues with homeless people, sex workers and drug dealing in the stairwells.

“We have a strong relationship with the council’s community safety team and we will continue to maintain a highly-visible presence to deter offending. We are out in the community, listening to people and dealing with their concerns.

“If you are a victim of anti-social behaviour, please report it to us by calling 101, message us via our website, or contact Crimestoppers or the local housing association if it relates to one of their properties. If you see a crime being committed, call 999.”