ASB Awareness Week – Chelmsford Community Safety Partnership
Night-time revellers in Chelmsford city centre are kept safe thanks to investment in schemes which offer extra support for the police.
With the evening economy a hotspot for crime, the Community Safety Partnership invests in taxi marshalls, Street Pastors and the SOS Bus to support vulnerable visitors to the city.
Funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) and local Councils, Community Safety Partnerships bring together councillors, police officers, fire officers, the probation service and other organisations – including Crimestoppers and Neighbourhood Watch – to work on tackling local crime and disorder and reducing reoffending.
This year, the partnership in Chelmsford – known as the One Chelmsford Board Strategic Group – has been allocated £19,191 from the PFCC’s Community Safety Fund 2022/23.
Partners including community safety, community protection, business compliance, licensing and housing representatives all work together from the community safety hub and are co-located with the Chelmsford and Maldon community policing team.
The group’s priorities are to tackle violent crime and reduce reoffending; to drive down antisocial behaviour in public places; identify and support vulnerable people; and to tackle rural and environmental crime.
Spencer Clarke, public protection manager, said: “The continuing rise in the number of police officers in Essex is fantastic, especially the increase in community policing and town centre teams. Essex Police is in a good place with officers on the ground and meaningful interventions in place.
“Chelmsford has a large and vibrant night-time economy, with a large percentage concentrated on the city centre. We, therefore, allocate appropriate resources towards that, in support of the police.
“Taxi marshalls, Street Pastors and the SOS Bus are good examples of how we support activities which make people safer around the evening economy.
“We want people to feel safe in the environment they live in.”
While the growing number of police officers is a positive development, Spencer says Chelmsford residents are supported by far more people than just the police.
He said: “People should not become obsessed with not seeing a police officer outside their window every day. We should be thinking that it doesn’t matter if we see a police officer or not and realise instead the number of other people patrolling the area – including youth workers and community protection officers.
“It’s important that people understand the responsibility of each agency and, more importantly, what we deliver together. The police are there when they are needed, but we also have well trained door staff and pastors; and that is just as important.
“By working together as we do, we can do so much more, on top of what the police can do.”
The partnership also supports Neighbourhood Watch to promote volunteering; holds exploitation awareness events for students and parents; provides Crucial Crew sessions for Year 6 pupils focusing on issues they may face; tackles street racing; and installs CCTV where it is needed.
It has also recently installed a youth shelter and lighting at the city centre skatepark and lighting in the nearby underpass to enable young people to use the space safely after dark.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “The projects that the Community Safety Partnership is delivering in Chelmsford is really making a difference. Especially the work around helping women and girls to be and feel safer in the city centre, during the day and night.
There is no place here in Essex for behaviour which intimidates others, and the team are continuing to work hard to prevent crime from happening and keeping our communities safe.”