Harlow police chief says “reducing violence” is district’s top priority

Crime / Sun 26th Mar 2023 at 10:06am

HARLOW’S District Commander, Chief Inspector Paul Austin, says reducing violence in the district remains his top priority.

Ch Insp Austin, who joined Essex Police in 2006, said more officers had been committed to hotspots where trouble has occurred.

“We know from our analysis that violence occurs predominantly within our town centre area and we’re putting more police officers in those locations to make Harlow residents feel safer.

“Our priority over the coming months is reducing violence within Harlow. Me and my team are really dedicated to making Harlow a safe place to live, visit and shop.”

Ch Insp Austin’s officers have been maintaining a highly visible presence in the town centre and he says the operation to tackle to anti-social behaviour had been a making an impact.

Harlow town centre is covered by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) put in place by the council prohibits the public consumption of alcohol in the town centre, and the riding of privately owned e-scooters in public areas is illegal.

Residents, business owners and those visiting the town centre told officers this behaviour left them feeling uncomfortable and intimidated.

“We’ve launched Operation Shopper to tackle anti-social behaviour and nuisances, and we’ve had many successes so far,” said Ch Insp Austin. “These include more than 100 e-scooter seizures and alcohol taken off people through our PSPO zone.”

Ch Insp Austin said listening to the concerns of people in Harlow was key to his team’s work and he wants to encourage everyone locally to engage with officers.

“We’re focussing on residents’ complaints in the local areas where they have told us about repeated anti-social behaviour.

“We’ll be showcasing this through ‘You Said, We Did’ to really show that we’re taking people’s concerns seriously and tackling them in the heart of their community.

“We will be visible, we are accessible and we’ll be holding regular events for the public to come and talk to us. I’m here to listen or people can contact the Community Policing Team.”

Ch Insp Austin said he’s “proud” to serve Harlow and said the everyone in the town can be optimistic about future.

“Harlow is a really diverse place to live and work and there’s a great sense of community wherever you go in Harlow, people are really proud to be part of this town.

“Harlow’s future is looking bright and there’s lot of regeneration on the way to make this town thrive even more.

“Harlow is a great place to live and work, and we’re working even harder to make it safer.”

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