The leader of Basildon Council has called the police “completely out of touch with the public’s reality” after the force revealed reports of violent crime had plummeted.

Basildon Council Labour leader, Gavin Callaghan, has claimed the statistics “do not match up with people’s lived reality” in the town.

According to Essex Police, 1,638 fewer crimes were reported in Basildon in the last 12 months and there were 443 fewer anti-social behaviour reports.

Mr Callaghan claimed residents tell councillors “there is no point in reporting crimes”.

He said: “The police are completely out of touch with the public’s reality.

“The truth is that the public lost faith in the police years ago.

“People tell me and my councillors all the time that there’s no point in reporting crimes to the police because they never do anything anyway.

“Statements like this just further alienate the public from the police.

“My advice to them is to stop the spin and get back on the beat.”

Essex Police have stated that Essex saw a 7.3 per cent reduction in overall crime reports between April 2023 and April this year, while Basildon saw an “above average reduction rate of 8.2 per cent”.

Chief Inspector Dan McHugh said: “It’s not always easy, but in the last 12 months we’ve focussed on the most violent crimes through proactivity, targeted operations and hard work, and we’re seeing the fruits of our labour.

“The figures are testament to my hardworking officers, who have focussed on the crimes that potentially result in the most threat, harm, or risk to our communities, to ensure intelligence-led policing activities prevent and detect crime and reduce that risk.

“We’ll continue to work hard to build on the successes of the last 12 months and we’ll continue to work with our partners to achieve the outcomes we need to keep our residents, businesses and visitors safe.”

In response to Mr Callaghan’s claims around a lack of faith in the force, Essex Police urged all victims of crime to contact them as a matter of urgency. A spokesman said: “We continue to encourage all victims of crime to report to us online or 101. In an emergency, always call 999. To report online, visit our website: Report a crime | Essex Police”