POLICE officers will flood Southend seafront to keep the city safe this bank holiday weekend.

Essex Police is working alongside Southend Council, the British Transport Police, train operator c2c, and seafront businesses to help residents and visitors enjoy the sunshine.

People can expect to see officers out on patrol in the busiest areas of Southend seafront and Old Leigh to provide a visible deterrent to anyone who misbehaves, Essex Police said.

The partnership, codenamed Operation Union, started in 2021 after the city saw huge influxes of day-trippers as the Covid lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

Echo: Police officers patrolling Marine ParadePolice officers patrolling Marine Parade (Image: Essex Police)

Last year, officers on Union patrols made 77 arrests and completed 322 stop and searches, with 45 per cent leading to the discovery of illegal items like drugs, weapons, and stolen goods.

There was a 24 per cent drop in incidents of violence against the person and a 55 per cent fall in anti-social behaviour compared to the previous year.

Supt Leigh Norris is leading the operation this year.

He said: “Southend attracts people from all over the country and our team will be on hand throughout the summer to make sure residents and visitors can relax and enjoy themselves in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere.

“If you need help, our officers will be out on patrol and there to assist you. If you spot something that concerns you, look out for our bright yellow jackets and come and tell us. You can also contact us online or call 999 in an emergency.

“We have very strong relationships with the British Transport Police, Southend Council, and the seafront traders, and we’re all working together with the same aim: making sure the city continues to be a safe place for people of all ages to enjoy.

“In 2023, we were successful in preventing potential troublemakers from entering Southend and individuals who have fallen below the standards of behaviour expected have been swiftly removed or appropriately and robustly dealt with to ensure the enjoyment of the majority isn't affected. That will continue to be the case this year.”

Marc Miller, chair of the Seaside Partnership and managing director of the Stockvale Group which owns Adventure Island, said: “After the great success of Operation Union in recent years, I’m extremely pleased it’s returning again ready for the summer.

“Visitors to Southend seaside have a fantastic time, and we don’t want anyone’s day spoiled by people who can’t behave.

“We have security teams at Adventure Island and all the way along the seafront who work very closely with Essex Police and local authorities to make sure those who step out of line are dealt with. If you do intend to cause trouble, your day certainly won’t go as planned.”