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BUSINESSES in Pitsea town centre are to be hooked up to a new walkie-talkie system after reporting a crime epidemic, a council meeting heard on Tuesday evening.
Basildon Council’s Homes and Communities Committee heard how exasperated businesses were at their wits’ end over crime and nuisance in the area.
They told police and councillors in a meeting in September that they had been plagued by thefts, assaults and anti-social behaviour.
One business had reportedly started closing early because night-time crime had become such a problem.
Labour ward councillor Andy Ansell, who attended the September meeting, said attendees had heard several ‘horror stories’ including ‘one poor lady who was assaulted and knocked to the ground in her own shop’.
Kerry Smith, chairman of the Homes and Communities Committee, also attended the September meeting and said some of the reports were ‘pretty horrific’.
Many incidents had never been reported to police, as the victims did not feel the force had the resources to properly respond to them.
But, Inspector Steve Parry told last night’s committee meeting, after hearing the victims’ stories in September, action was taken instantly.
He said: “Since that meeting, straight away, a number of my officers were deployed to the area.”
He said officers were taking part in regular ‘walkabouts’ and were ‘able to get a real sense of what was going on in that area and put that sense of reassurance in’.
Additionally, a new sergeant will be in post from mid-November, ‘overseeing all things Pitsea’.
Inspector Parry said: “A lot of the issues you did have were areas that we were hearing about for the first time.
“We are now in a position where we have been into all the retailers and we are starting to build those key relationships which in fairness haven’t been with us for some time. But we are in a position where we are rebuilding those relationships and making new ones, which has been overwhelmingly well-received.”
Cllr Smith asked a council officer last night: “How are we getting on with a radio system to protect the retailers? Because I think what was said there was fairly horrific. We need to make sure the traders are secure.”
The officer replied: “We have obtained the details on the radio link, following the meeting in September. We are in the process of calculating which businesses will purchase them directly, because as you know, some of the businesses are very large over there, and then perhaps the third sector businesses, how we can assist them in funding those.”