Film: Police bosses set out challenges ahead

Crime / Thu 7th Nov 2013 at 08:01am

nickTHE ESSEX Police Challenge is a key part of how Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, holds the Chief Constable of Essex and his senior team to account on behalf of the people of our county.

To navigate between the four section, please click on the Playlist option at the top of the video screen.

Part 1 – Essex Police Challenge 041113: Performance

Part 2 – Essex Police Challenge 041113: Domestic Abuse

Part 3 – Essex Police Challenge 041113: Challenges and Opportunities

It was not possible to capture the audio of the public questions, so a verbatim record is included where possible at appropriate times.

At 11:30 of Part 3, Simon Edney asked:

“Why are there not more Police Officers and PCSOs on our streets anymore because we as the general public are growing increasingly concerned for our own safety and generally do not feel safe in our own towns “

Part 4 – Essex Police Challenge 041113: Questions from members of the public

At 1:10 of Part 4, Norman Taylor asked:

“The police need all the help they can get from the public in order to reduce crime levels. Should the police enlist the help of Neighbourhood Watch groups by alerting them quickly to crimes committed in their area? Asking members for any information they might have about a crime committed today or yesterday – eg were there any strangers or unusual vehicles in your road/area today? – is much more likely to bear fruit than informing them that crimes were committed 2 months ago. Information sent to the relevant District Co-ordinator could be passed on quickly to an individual road or group of roads. Would the Chief Constable comment on this please?”

At 3:20, Graham Bushby asked:

“Why are Essex Police Traffic Units not represented on the public forums such as Joint Action Group / Community Safety Partnership etc?

“Towns and villages are reporting speeding, local bad driving and vehicle issues continuously and the Braintree JAG refuses to discuss speeding issues particularly related to unmarked police cars careering through Hatfield Peverel saying it should be taken up with the Inspectors at Boreham even though it is a safety issue. However, the Firearms Unit won’t explain why they are speeding in unmarked cars but the OSG Inspector is making every effort to understand our concerns. Until the police grasp and engage at all levels on the public concern about their speeding and closing roads at short notice for long periods e.g the A12 for 12 hours recently from Boreham to Marks Tey and the impact on the communities around and local businesses etc the police image will deteriorate even lower than it is already. The closing at short notice of roads for long periods seems to be a very common trait and no explanation is ever forthcoming. Similarly there is an increasing trait of a ‘chase me’ convoy of police cars occurring now and it is not uncommon to see two or three together now and we have had an instance recently of five marked cars chasing each other on ‘blues and twos’ in Hatfield Peverel. PR, via these meetings, could raise the image of the police over a period of time. Although I have used the A12 as a personal example I am sure local parish councils near to the M11, M25, A13, A127 all experience the same issues and would welcome interaction with the Traffic Units.”

At 7:30, the PCC read out a question submitted by Gareth Santi:

“Since the introduction of borderless policing and response hubs Essex Police seem to have been in retreat. 24/7 response and patrol officers have centralised leading to areas being neglected locally and just not having the same level of service any more. For example in Southend you used to see the police around all the time, but now it is rare and there must be a link between this and there being 500 extra crimes in the Southend District this year already – some of these very very serious.

“Are Officers going to be put back locally 24/7 in all stations to restore proper local policing, the neighbourhood officers and PCSO’s are not enough.”

At 9:50, the PCC read out a question submitted by Philip Goatly:

“The street lighting in much of the City of Chelmsford and the surrounding area is now being switched of between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. – do the police believe that this decision will result in an increase in crimes such as burglary? If so, although the city council may be saving money by switching the lights off, haven’t they only switched the cost from the council to the police and to those who will be burgled?”

And a question from Thomas Hewitt:

“With regard to incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage such as graffiti, involving groups of young people drinking alcohol in parks and then travelling into residential areas, why is it so difficult to contact Essex Police, and why do they appear uninterested when contact is made?”

At 16:40, a member of the audience reported that he had been a victim of rural crime, and stated that three burglaries of outbuldings, had been recorded under one incident number. He noted that only 7 per cent of other burglaries (such as outbuildings and sheds) were solved , and added that on one occasion it had taken officers 12 days to collect CCTV from him. Sometimes he had had a good response with officers arriving within 20 minutes, but he was also concerned that his neighbourhood policing team was being reduced from two Pcs and three PCSOs to one Pc and one PCSO.

At 18:30, a member of the audience asked a question of the Chief Constable about police culture.

At 20:50, the same member of the audience asked the PCC whether the Special Constabulary are, in effect, modern day slaves?

At 22:40, Bill Horslen asked a question about the Chief Constable’s absolute commitment to neighbourhood policing. The PCC added some details from a question submitted by former officer Ian Walker about the removal of the Colchester Town Centre policing team, and its impact on crime in the town centre.

At 24:50, the PCC read out a question submitted by Mike Rippe:

“A question for the Chief Constable, at a time when Police budgets are being cut, do you think that the Office of PCC is a complete waste of taxpayer’s money which could be spent on policing the ‘wild west’, which is the road network of Essex?

“I have proved through analysis that a significant number of drivers break the law on a daily basis by speeding along the road where I live and yet there is no mechanism for the public to request static speed checks by the Police! A request to a local community officer for such a check was met with a response that blamed resources! If you ever read the Essex Chronicle you will see that communities across the region are being let down by both Essex police and ECC!

“Bring back speed cameras and a functioning Police Force!”


You can also review the slides used during the event here:

Chief Constable Kavanagh slideshow presentation 041113

For a more detailed review of Essex Police performance in key areas, please see the document linked below reviewing the period from April to September 2013.

Essex Performance Summary April to September 2013


6:30pm – Essex Police Challenge event starts

6:30pm – Introduction from PCC Alston

6:35pm – Review of Essex Police Performance

– Presentation by Chief Constable Kavanagh

– Questions from PCC Alston & Deputy PCC Whitehouse

7:05pm – Domestic abuse – recent developments

– Presentation from CC Kavanagh

– Questions from PCC Alston & Deputy PCC Whitehouse

7:35pm – The challenges and opportunities for policing in Essex

– Introduction from Chief Constable Kavanagh

– Questions from Mr Alston & Deputy PCC Whitehouse

8:05pm – Questions submitted by the public to be asked by Mr Alston

– Questions from the audience

8:30pm – End of the Essex Police Challenge

The next Essex Police Challenge is planned for February 2014. If you have a question for the Chief Constable, please email it to Nick Alston at:

[email protected]

Alternately, please submit your question in writing to:

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex
3 Hoffmanns Way

Time permitting, the PCC will aim to ask the Chief Constable as many of the most pertinent questions as possible at the next meeting in February.

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