Essex Police Rural Engagement Team expanding under new leadership
September will see the expansion of GTRET, The Rural Engagement Team under the new leadership of Chief Inspector Terry Balding. This is part of forces dedication to visible, front line policing which saw the introduction of the 23 new Town Centre Teams across the county in June.
The already well established team focuses on policing in our rural communities, they will be gaining four new police constables and a sergeant, followed by additional officers in early 2020.
Our rural communities face unique challenges, the new officers will work with partner agencies and residents to tackle such issues as unauthorized traveller encampments, hare coursing, night-hawking and flytipping.
Chif Insp Terry Balding’s first day in his role was Monday 1 July after 23 years in policing, 16 have been served in Essex. Talking about his new role, he spoke of the importance of visible policing and helping those living in more isolated areas feel safe.
On Wednesday 24 July Chief Insp Balding met with local farmers Patrick Wreathall and Robert Stacey.
Patrick’s family have farmed 800 acres at Forest Lodge Farm near Ingatestone since the 1950s. Since his father Henry and his uncles John and Alan arrived in Essex and set up a Turkey farm, the family have expanded into arable farming.
His neighbour, Robert Stacey, has roots that go back over a century, his forebears moved to the east from Cornwall. Robert is now NFU Council Delegate and Patrick is County Chairman.
In the past Patrick has had problems with stolen quad bikes, he tackled this by controlling the access points onto his farm. He has also looked for cheaper, practical solutions including lower value but equally effective equipment that was less of a target for thieves.
Patrick said: “Six or Seven years ago we felt we didn’t have a link with the Police, but this rural team really makes a difference. There’s much better liaison than there was a few years ago.”
When speaking about his new post Chief Insp Balding said: “I am really excited about this new chapter in my career it comes at a time when the force is expanding and I look forward to helping to make our rural communities safer.
“I am passionate about policing especially within the rural community, I have fond memories of my Grandfather and being on his farm growing up.
“I feel that the partnership between officers and the local community is crucial in our fight against crime and want to continue to build on these relationships moving forward.
“At this time of year hare coursing and people looking for sites for this illegal activity is a particular focus for us. We would ask everyone to look out for signs this is going on, any unfamiliar vehicle or groups of people with dogs to please report to 101.
“The rural community in Essex is a large part of our county and it has its own challenges. I am determined to protect and serve everyone within it.”