It’s fast approaching a year since the 2019 General Election was called and the Conservative Party made a manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers for England and Wales.
Recruitment to date is going well and thanks to the sterling work of the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, and Chief Constable BJ Harrington, the Essex Police force is now 500 officers stronger than four years ago. As PFCC, Roger sets the policing priorities for Essex Police, in conjunction with the Chief Constable and the recruitment of these officers strengthens the force’s ability to provide local, visible policing, crack down on anti-social behaviour, break the cycle of domestic abuse and tackle gangs and serious violence.
Although the level of crime in the Brentwood and Epping local policing district is comparatively low, organised crime, including county lines and high-end vehicle crime is an issue, especially where we sit on the border with London. However, there is some excellent cross-force work going on, and if you watched Critical Incident on BBC1 last week, you will have seen some of our finest Essex Police officers tackling some of the more unpleasant, knife-wielding, drug-peddling members of our community, and breaking up criminal gangs from the top down.
Here in the Brentwood and Ongar constituency, the local policing team has 24 more officers, plus a new town centre team for Brentwood to deal with the ongoing work to catch drug dealers, shoplifters, those carrying weapons, as well as dealing with anti-social behaviour. I met Chief Constable Harrington in Brentwood last week to patrol the High Street and hear from him about how the additional police officers would be used. I am pleased to say BJ has plans to make local policing more visible and responsive, to tackle more rural crime, and to clamp down on the encroachment of county lines.
Our community policing team and PFCC hold regular meetings (currently online) to discuss policing matters in Brentwood and Ongar. The next one is this week (22 October) if anyone has any questions. Despite the obvious strains upon everyone at the moment, it is excellent to see the commitment to increase police numbers paying dividends locally with some first-rate police work.
Photo Credit: Ian Davidson