Clacton: Drive to tackle knife crime bearing fruit, say police
The success of a special operation to clamp down on knife crime in Clacton is having a positive impact, according to police.
Essex Police set up the initiative - Operation Statesman - following a recent spate of knifepoint robberies in the town and have made extra resources available to tackle the problem. These include bringing in a dedicated support team of dog handlers, together with taser-equipped officers and undercover squads to back up neighbourhood policing teams.
The police say as a result no knifepoint robberies have been reported in Clacton since July 20 and that 16 people having been arrested since the start of June.
Chief Inspector Barrie said: “We’re really pleased with not only our efforts so far, but also, and very importantly, those of the local community.
“Since we publicised Statesman, we have been inundated with information from residents and retailers across the town who want to give us details of suspicious activity or names of possible offenders. We’re grateful for their help and reinforces the fact that it will be a partnership approach that successfully tackles this problem.”
The latest inititaive in the operation took place on Tuesday evening when police officers joined forces with members of the British Transport Police to identify people travelling with drugs. Specially-trained dogs sniffed each passenger alighting and boarding the trains at Clacton station, alerting their handlers to any sign of drug use. A total of 16 people were identified and given a full body search.
A local man in his 40s was found to be in possession of cannabis and given a formal warning. The remaining 15 all admitted to being recreational users, but no drugs were found on them.
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Ch Insp Barrie added: “It’s commonly known that drugs and knives are linked and so our work with BTP was worthwhile to gather information and identify drug-users.
“Our presence there was greeted with a warm reception, with many commuters aware of the recent knife-crime problem and the ongoing operation, so the publicity surrounding our activity has hit home to both offender and resident.
“This type of community engagement is really important to us and we invest a great deal of time and effort and highlighting our work to locals.”