How targeted patrols are tackling violent crime across Essex

Crime / Fri 22nd Mar 2024 at 07:35am

TARGETED patrols in 15 hotspots across the county are helping to prevent violent crime and catch people carrying weapons.

Operation Grip sees uniformed officers out on daily foot patrols in areas that data analysis shows have a higher probability of a serious violent incident taking place.

Four of the hotspots are in Southend, with three in Basildon, two in Colchester, and one in each of Chelmsford, Harlow, Clacton, Braintree, Grays and Brentwood.

As well as acting as a deterrent, the officers are there to engage with the community and identify areas where improvements could be made to reduce the possibility of crime and make people feel safer.

In February, Grip patrols led to 32 arrests, 58 stop searches and the seizure of four weapons.

In the past year, there has been a 7% reduction in serious violence, knife-enabled crime is down by 11% and the number of people caught in possession of a weapon is up by 4.9%.

Grip is funded by the Home Office and has led to the purchase of a state-of-the-art OpenGate weapons detection system that has been used all over the county, and the improvements in CCTV and lighting in Chelmsford.

Other Grip initiatives have included the Safe Space in Southend, and additional patrols on Friday and Saturday nights in Colchester.

Detective Chief Inspector Neal Miller of the Serious Violence Unit said Grip patrols are effective in both tackling violent crime and reassuring the public:

“We identified where our serious harm hotspots are and target those with different types of intervention to reduce serious violence.

“We’re patrolling to prevent crime but also to build relationships. We’re showing the public we’re there, we’re engaging with the community, and they feel reassured to see us.

“We also have regular meetings with the Community Safety Partnership in each hotspot area and use problem-orientated policing to identify specific issues, like CCTV and lighting, where we can help to make improvements.”

The OpenGate system has proved effective as a way of engaging with the public and led directly to arrests. This weekend in Harlow, a young man was detained on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after running from officers at an OpenGate deployment.

DCI Miller added: “We are not only preventing crime, we are also pursuing offenders by putting our Operational Support Group and the OpenGate into areas we know people carry weapons. 

“The increase in weapons possession offences shows we are targeting the right areas at the right times. The knock-on effect is the reduction in knife-enabled crime.

“Our proactive approach is helping to prevent violence and arrest those who are intent on causing harm in our communities.”

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2 Comments for How targeted patrols are tackling violent crime across Essex:

well done
2024-03-23 07:28:16

Thank you Harlow police for the huge amount of work you are putting in to keep us safe.Lots of community engagement and foot patrols.Very reassuring.Looking forward to the open day at Harlow police station on saturday 6th april.

Graham VH
2024-03-25 14:24:25

All well and good something certainly needed doing in this area. However when violence takes place the victim is the one that suffers more support in that corner is needed as well, does seem like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted meaning it's better late than never.

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