The Stow selected as Essex’s first “Clear, Hold, Build” location

Crime / Sat 4th May 2024 at 05:58am

THE Stow in Harlow will be the first area in the county to benefit from a national scheme to reduce crime and regenerate impacted neighbourhoods.

Clear, Hold, Build is a Home Office initiative that brings police and public services together to tackle offending and address underlying issues affecting communities.

The aim is to produce sustained, long-term change in places that have been blighted by serious and organised crime by pursuing offenders, breaking up and dispersing gangs, and creating strong, resilient neighbourhoods.

Chief Inspector Paul Austin, Harlow’s District Commander, explained why the Stow had been chosen:

“The Stow has been an area of concern for some time due to instances of crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The shops and library are well used by local community and it is a hub for the elderly and some of the more vulnerable people in society.

“We want the Stow to be a place where people can flourish and live free of concerns about crime and ASB.

“We have seen ASB reduce and the introduction of Operation Dial has established a regular, visible police presence. However, we still have information about gang-related activity, weapon carrying, and serious violence, and we know that not every incident gets reported.

“We want to drive down crime and ASB, and make sure the people who are committing crime and serious violence are removed, locked up and don’t come back.”

Surveys of local residents and people who use the Stow have revealed concerns about crime and ASB, and young people in Harlow said it was the area of the town where crime, ASB and the prevalence of gang activity most concerned them.

New signage has recently been added to the area to encourage people to report crime anonymously following a link-up between the police, the Safer Harlow Partnership and Crimestoppers.

Five thousand leaflets have also been delivered to local people to highlights what officers believe are the biggest issues in the Stow and to alert people to the signs of offending.

Chief Inspector Austin added:

“Clear, Hold, Build is about the community and organisations coming together to offer a wide range of support services and making sure criminality can’t flourish.

“As it’s a community project, it’s incredibly important to find out what people in the Stow are thinking and feeling.

“I want local residents be able be access education, youth and sports facilities, and to feel the Stow is a place that’s looked after, on the up, and police and partners care about.”

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8 Comments for The Stow selected as Essex’s first “Clear, Hold, Build” location:

2024-05-04 08:39:35

This was once a hive of friendly activity. I used to walk with my mum from Potter Street on many occasion. My mum worked in the kitchen at Cooks Spinney school and walked there and back 5 days a week. It is a shame to see the deterioration of these once thriving areas.

Guy Flegmen
2024-05-04 09:15:55

Nice to hear that the gate will be fixed after the horses have bolted.

David Forman
2024-05-04 09:42:31

This is yet another valuable initiative building on the earlier work of the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) which aimed to tackle youth concerns about gangs, drug related violence and seeking to disrupt county lines dealing. The VVU was introduced by Police Commissioner Roger Hirst in conjunction with community groups with Home Office funding. This latest initiative seems like a good move as it will focus on "underlying issues affecting communities" and aim at "creating strong, resilient neighbourhoods".

2024-05-04 16:14:42

I moved to the Mark Hall ward, which includes the Stow, 7 years ago from Church Langley. My home insurance actually went down, I was told my new house was in lower risk area.

2024-05-04 16:39:37

I don't have a problem with this, any initiative which keeps us safe is a positive. However, the Stow doesn't seem to be as it is described. I hung around there as a young teenager many years ago, it doesn't really seem any different, perhaps I am in my comfort zone there. The Stow seems to me to be a great little shopping area, we have restaurants and take aways, we have food shops selling stuff from around the world, dry cleaners, clothes alterations, charity shops, a betting shop, a library and a post office. We have chemist shops, ladies fashion and school wear. We also have a dentist although I preferred it when the unit was a pet shop. We can get a bus to the town, Stansted and Chelmsford. And we have a great pub in the Essex Skipper. In short, we have everything we need to serve a great community.You can even get married there and attend Labour party meetings in Moot House. So why is there a problem? indeed, is there a problem? A poor lady called Bev Brinkley was sadly murdered there 20 years ago, her killers have never been brought to justice. Many people would, I suspect, think that it was a targeted, criminally motivated killing. Also, sadly, her family name seems often to appear on the pages of YH where criminality is concerned, from different areas I should stress so quite possibly coincidence. I will mention the pub again, it seems a great pub to me, it always has events, this weekend there is lots of live music. This pub should be encouraged to become the focal point of the community, if there wasn't already a cafe I would suggest that it turned its public bar into a coffee shop for all to visit. Such a focal point for all ages, could, I think, promote the community and minimise the issues referred to in the report

2024-05-05 12:29:44

I have to agree with voteforme It is Sunday lunchtime. I have just walked through the stow in the sunshine, very quiet, people going about their business. Yes, the Stow is getting a lot of police attention but all towns have similar issues in certain areas. When i was working 20 + years ago, the Staple Tye area was getting a bashing in the press, now hardly heard about. I have a friend in Little Parndon area whose drug dealing neighbour is regularly raided by police. The Stow at present, where will be next?

Mark Gough
2024-05-05 18:56:17

The truth is the Police need more support and more experienced officers. Until we make carrying a knife or firearm a criminal offense, with I would suggest a five and ten year prison term respectively, the Police are fighting a losing battle. As for experienced officers, the problem we have is that they come to train in Essex, and then go a few miles down the road to join the Met, where they can get £15-20k more cos of London weighting. Frankly, who can blame them! Until we bring in a Home Counties weighting of about £10k, we won't solve the problem. True with a number of Public Services. Mark Gough -Leader Harlow UKIP

Michelle gurd
2024-05-05 19:19:45

Dorringtons do a tasty sausage roll

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