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Lively discussions at PCC’s Saffron Walden public meeting

Police visibility, officer numbers, burglary, fraud prevention and village Speed Watch were some of the topics on the agenda at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s latest public meeting.

Despite the wet weather, residents from across Uttlesford district turned out for the meeting hosted by Nick Alston at the Saffron Walden Town Hall on Thursday May 14, 2015.

Uttlesford’s district commander Chief Insp Richard Melton gave an overview of all crime in the district. The good news is an overall 5.1 per cent reduction in overall crime comparing April 2014 to March 2015 with the same period in 2013 to 2014. This means there were 139 fewer offences in Uttlesford.

Chief Insp Melton was particularly pleased with the reduction in house burglary of 49.2 per cent which means there were 124 fewer burglaries than the previous year. For details of crime in the district and context around how the burglary reduction was delivered, please see the full briefing document

Det Insp Alan Stevens spoke to the audience about crime prevention and police intelligence in relation to burglaries. He emphasised the importance of a two-way flow of information between Essex Police and the public. As part of the Operation Insight work to tackle burglary, Essex Police will inform local communities of burglaries in their area, and the force encourages members of the public to inform police of any unusual or suspicious behaviour they notice. Det Insp Stevens was also pleased that around one-third, almost 33 per cent, of house burglaries have been solved in Uttlesford district – one of the highest solved rates in the county.

Some of the main concerns raised at the meeting were policing structure, the visibility of officers and the role of PCSOs. Chief Insp Melton noted he wanted his officers and PCSOs out on the street being proactive and responsive, rather than manning police stations. The PCC added that the review of the Essex Police property estate was nearing conclusion and he anticipated publishing details in the coming weeks.

In response to questions about speeding in villages, Martin Ford, Community Safety Officer for the district, spoke about the important role of Speed Watch. He noted that the schemes often worked with local schools, so that motorists caught speeding spoke with children to bring home the potentially tragic consequences that can result from driving too fast. He encouraged local communities to set up a Speed Watch scheme to monitor speeding – if they did not already have such an initiative in place.

The meeting also featured lively discussions about the importance of Neighbourhood Watch schemes, fraud prevention, online grooming, drugs and alcohol abuse and police resources.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:

“Every single one of my public meetings has led to a constructive discussion with local people about the policing and community safety issues that matter to them, and the meeting at Saffron Walden was no exception. It was also important to discuss the distressing topic of online harassment. There were lots of good ideas about Community Speed Watch, and hopefully some of those attending the meeting will sign up for Essex Community Messaging as it’s a great way to keep in touch with Essex Police about what’s happening in your area.”

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
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