Essex police officers back on the street

MORE than 200 officers are being returned to front line duties with Essex Police after the appointment of Chief Constable Roger Baker, the force has claimed.

By Roddy Ashworth

MORE than 200 officers are being returned to front line duties with Essex Police after the appointment of Chief Constable Roger Baker, the force has claimed.

And the extra officers - 220 of whom will be on duty by the end of the month - have all been found within existing resources, it was announced yesterday.

The first 25 officers were put back on the beat in August 2005, just one month after Mr Baker started work with Essex Police.

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And now extra cash - generated by a rise in the force's share of council tax - will be used primarily on recruiting more police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Essex Police Authority has just set its council tax precept with a rise for most council taxpayers of 12p a week.

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Increasing visible policing is one of Essex Police and Essex Police Authority's stated main policing priorities.

Mr Baker said: “We want to adopt a new policing style in Essex, where everyone can expect the same high standard of service.

“This style means an increased presence of both sworn officers, special constables and PCSOs on our streets providing reassurance to the communities we serve.

“We are committed to reducing crime, nuisance and disorder. We will bring down the fear of crime, increase detection and arrest rates.

“We believe that increasing officers on the streets is the best way of achieving this.”

Chairman of the Essex Police Authority, Robert Chambers, said: “The authority is committed to ensuring visible policing is increased in Essex, and I am delighted we have been able to release these officers on to the front line.

“This is just the beginning. We will continually look at ways to introduce even more officers on the streets.

“This is what the public have told us they want and we will deliver it.”

Mr Baker has also achieved many other changes in Essex Police, including:

n Force restructuring - restructuring the police service in Essex to five divisions has enabled Mr Baker to deliver more officers to the front line.

n Extending the opening hours of police stations - The first phase was implemented in October and work is continually being done to identify longer opening hours for police stations county-wide.

n Attending every reported crime - Mr Baker has ensured that his police officers attend every reported crime. This drive started in summer 2005 and will be a permanent way of doing business.

n Improved face to face contact - Mr Baker has encouraged staff to communicate with people face to face. One of the ways he has done this is by asking staff to cut down on the amount of emails sent internally.

n Increasing arrest rates and driving down crime - Operation Days of Action was launched in July, with a target for officers to make hundreds of additional arrests.

n Neighbourhood Policing - The force intends to roll out the first six Neighbourhood Policing teams by March 31, 2006, with a further 140 teams to be introduced across Essex by July 2006. The aim of Neighbourhood Policing is to have the right people, in the right places, in the right numbers, tackling crime nuisance and disorder to make Essex safer.

n Recruitment - Since Mr Baker started in his role with Essex police he has recruited an additional 120 special constables and has ensured that the force will recruit an additional 133 PCSOs in 2006.

n Reintroducing motorbikes - Re-establishing the motorcycle unit will enable more efficient and effective patrols in the county, it is claimed.

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