Key First Term Achievements:
1. Essex Police has now seen several years of growth. We have 500 more officers than in May 2016, and the prospect of 300 more to come on the back of the government's Police Uplift Programme, making Essex Police the biggest and strongest it has ever been.
2. Building on the success of the increase in Community Policing Teams in 2018/19, key areas of investment for 2019/20 included the establishment of Town Centre Teams, increasing the numbers in Local Policing Teams, Public Protection officers, Roads Policing and Children and Young People officers.
3. The introduction of 68 officers in 25 Town Centre Teams has provided an increased local and visible policing presence across Essex and further strengthened the connection between local communities and the police that has been a focus of work over the last few years. These extra officers have made a big difference, working with partners in a highly visible way to reduce ASB, crime and improve reassurance.
4. The establishment of the Rural Engagement and Business Crime Teams, working closely with our rural and business communities in Essex, have also created greater resilience within those communities, preventing crime and protecting and safeguarding the vulnerable across the county.
5. These initiatives are starting to have a positive impact in Essex on crime prevention, solving more crimes as well as increasing levels of public confidence in the local police. In the first quarter of 2020, our independently run public perception survey found that confidence among local communities in Essex Police had increased significantly to 81% - the highest level ever reported since the survey began 3 years ago, and is now still running at 75% despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In March 2020 Official Crime Statistics published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported a 0.5% decrease in Essex recorded crime for the first time in more than five years. Prior to this there had been an increase seen in every quarter from June 2015 onwards, in line with the trend across the country. The evidence shows a change in some long-term crime trends in the two largest crime categories with Theft decreasing 8% year on year and the increasing rate of violence slowing, a much smaller 6% increase compared to the previous year’s publication which showed a 39% increase. These figures are, of course, prior to the impact of Covid-19 on crime patterns.
6. The June 2020 ONS publication reported for the second successive quarter a fall in recorded crime in Essex with crime reducing by 4.4% in the 12 months to June 2020 compared to the 12 months to March 2020. In addition, there was a decrease in violence (-1.1%) for the first time and a significant reduction in theft offences (-11.6%) sexual offences (-5.9%), Robbery (-7.9%) and Criminal Damage (-5.5%).
7. We have made significant investment in high harm and investigations for domestic abuse, adult sexual abuse and public protection. There has been an 11.9% reduction in high harm offences for the year ending November 2020 compared to the previous year and a 7.2% increase in the number of solved offences for violence with injury, rape and other sexual offences over the same period.
8. Our support for the Special Constabulary has mean that a large number of residents have come forward as volunteers, and we now have over 500 Specials, up from just over 300 four years ago, and the second largest Special Constabulary in the country after the Met. A large number of parish and town councils are keen to use our Community Specials programme, and there are also a growing number of Employer Supported Specials.
9. Working together with the County Council, Highways Agency and other partners, we have reduced the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by 40%. That number is still far too many and our target for the future is to see no-one killed on roads in Essex
10. We were the first area of the country to bring Police and Fire & Rescue under joint governance and so foster closer and better cooperation. We now have joint Schools and Home Safety teams, and have profiled over £11m of efficiency improvements from collaboration.
11. We have embedded significant cultural change in the Fire & rescue Service, building on values defined with our workforce which have changed behaviours. With better training, a new recruitment programme, a fresh approach to talent and skills, and new policies for discipline and complaints, the service has shown itself well able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only delivering on its own obligations but supporting Ambulance and the NHS.
12. With more investment planned for 2021/22, we have programmes in place to reduce drug-related violence and prevent domestic abuse, as well as improving building-fire protection following on from the Grenfell disaster report.