Southend is safe insists police chief inspector as councillor says residents are living in fear

A chief inspector at Essex Police has said Southend remains safe despite councillors urgently calling for a boost to police numbers.

Southend’s deputy leader, Independent councillor Ron Woodley claimed the police are struggling to deal with the growing levels of crime in the streets and has even said the armed forces should be called in.

The councillor hit out at police numbers after a man was assaulted on Thorpe Bay Gardens and a car was driven toward pedestrians.

But chief inspector Ian Hughes, District Commander for Southend, denied crime is on the rise.

“Southend is a safe place to live, work, and over the last year has become even safer,” he said.

“We continue to work with our partners, such as Southend Council, to address concerns and issues of anti-social behaviour and deter activity like this from happening again

“Over the last year we’ve made really positive steps in terms of the number crimes reported in Southend.

“While crime has increased across the country, that rise here has been less and less each month.

“In the months before the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions, we had already seen fewer burglaries and robberies, while reports of other offences such as violence against the person and vehicle theft, were also moving in the right direction.

“In the last couple of months we’ve seen reported crime decrease even further with more than 950 fewer crimes reports in the year to the end of May – a drop of nearly five percent.”

Following the incident in Thorpe Bay, Mr Hughes said additional patrols have been put in place and a dispersal order is going to be put in place for 48 hours, from 6pm Wednesday until 6pm on Friday.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter