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23 July 2019, 07:30 | Updated: 23 July 2019, 07:33
More than 50 police officers are being placed in town centres across Essex.
Essex Police have announced investment in Town Centre Teams in 23 locations across the county - as part of their dedication to visible, frontline officers.
A total of 58 constables will tackle the most prominent issues in local communities. They will focus on community concerns, including drug dealing and antisocial behaviour. Under the guidance of their sergeants, they will work closely with local businesses and support groups to get to the root of ongoing issues and tensions and investigate appropriately. Businesses experiencing issues with the night time economy, like bars and clubs, will also be supported in the reduction of crime and antisocial behaviour.
The Town Centre Team constables will be assigned to Braintree, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Harwich, Maldon, Saffron Walden, South Woodham Ferrers and Witham in the north of Essex.
In the south of the county, officers will be servicing Basildon, Billericay, Canvey, Rayleigh, Rochford, Southend and Wickford.
Finally, the teams in the west will be based in: Brentwood, Grays, Harlow, Loughton, South Ockendon, Stanford-le-Hope and Waltham Abbey.
Speaking about the creation of the Town Centre Teams, Chief Constable BJ Harrington said: "My priorities for the force are clear: we will be visible to deter crime in the community, we will provide better and consistent support to victims and to the vulnerable and we will act against anyone who is intent on inflicting violence in our county.
"With the introduction of the Town Centre Teams, we can be at the centre of these conversations. The public know their local area the best, and so do local officers who can put their boots on the ground and their faces in the village hall. If people have got an issue, or suspect criminal acts are taking place in their community, I need them to feel comfortable reporting it to us. If we work together we can keep the tide turning and put a stop to antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, and other insidious crimes that cause irreparable harm to families, friends and whole communities.
"With a record number of officers passing out in a single ceremony last month, our force is continuing to grow. I am so proud that we’re able to have response-trained officers to answer your 999 calls and, on top of that, provide additional officers to your community."
Denise Rossiter Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce & Industry said: "Our High Street have been in decline for so long.
"Let’s hope this lifts the public confidence in returning to the shops and generating much needed income for them to survive."