Partnership working is having an impact on gangs and violent crime in Essex
Speaking at his recent annual conference, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, told emergency service personnel, MPs and representatives from local authorities, town and parish councils, health, education, voluntary, the business sector and community organisations that by working together on intervention programmes, they are making a difference.
He said: “We are making a difference. We know that when we intervene, it makes a difference. We know that when we work together, it makes a difference.
“Violent crime in this county is much less than across the country. But, we need to get it down further and I know by working together we can do that. It is only by working together we can make that progress.
“We do so much well together already. Today is an opportunity for everyone to see what everyone else is doing around community safety in our county. Hopefully they will leave thinking ‘we can work together and make this happen’.”
Under the hashtag #UnstoppableEssex, the ‘Delivering through Partnerships event’, at Colchester Stadium, shone the spotlight on that partnership work making communities safer.
The event was supported by Essex Chambers of Commerce.
Mr Hirst said: “We can make big improvements on the issues affecting our county, such as community safety; the things that make people’s lives difficult. They are often to do with education, housing, employment, family disassociation. They show themselves in things that have a big impact on emergency services, such as gang violence, drugs and domestic violence. They result in the things that disrupt and destroy lives and keep us in this room busy.”
A focus on gangs and vulnerability, community safety and diversionary programmes gave a hard-hitting insight for those attending.
Delegates had the opportunity to take part in two of six topics – with workshops on Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Firebreak, Essex Police’s Operation Raptor Team Gangs Operation, Colchester United’s Unite Our Communities, Southend Combat Academy, AlterEgo Creative and Designing Out Crime – to give them a taster of the diversionary programmes and an opportunity to experience them from a service user perspective.
Vic Goddard, co-principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, represented the education partners playing their part in the fight against violence. He said: “We cannot be everything to all people. We rely on you to complete the picture. Collectively is the only way we are going to be successful. We have to create the environment for growth and shelter them from the storms around then. But, we cannot do that alone.”
James Cleverly, MP for Braintree and Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union, asked to attend the conference for the second year running. He said: “When it comes to the reform of public services and making sure they are tailored to what people actually want, make sure you really do listen. That’s not saying you should always just give people what they ask for, but you need to understand what scares them and what things they find frustrating.
“That is where days like today really matter. Making connections is what today is all about. Systems and processes are not going to do it for us. They are important, but that is not how it is going to happen. It is going to happen because of a room full of dedicated, public spirited people getting together and collectively working out how to make things better.”
- Delegates heard six “lightning talks” – two-minute pitches – about various projects making a difference in the county, including The Horizon Project by Phoenix Futures; Challenging Myths / Changing Attitudes in Thurrock; Street, Rail, School Pastors; Sensory Services; and Safe, Well and Secure by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
- Exhibition stands gave delegates an opportunity to further discuss work going by organisations including Centre Supporting Voluntary Action, SOS Domestic Abuse Project and Only Cowards Carry.
- The event was brought to an end with a Q&A session and the presentation of Community Safety Hero Awards.
- It was announced that by April 2020, the force will have appointed an extra 368 police officers, bringing the total up to 3,200. There are also more than 500 Specials in the county – second in size only to the Met Police and the fastest growing constabulary in the country.