Protecting rural and isolated areas
Crime in rural areas of Essex is being dismantled by a dedicated team of police officers.
The Rural Engagement Team was developed by Essex Police in 2017 as part of the growth of the force.
Working with Community Policing Teams and Local Policing Teams across rural areas of the county, the team has built understanding of rural crime within Essex Police, promoted and improved direct engagement with rural communities and improved the confidence rural communities have in the force.
During 2021/2022, Essex Police has had an impact on rural crimes, such as hare coursing, wildlife crime, heritage crime, as well as continuing to reduce the number of unauthorised encampments across Essex by more than 60 per cent.
Working with neighbouring forces, a new co-ordinated approach to tackling hare coursing, including the increased use of community protection legislation, more engagement from rural communities and internal training, has led to a 25 per cent reduction in the number of incidents.
The focus will continue to develop with specialist officers reviewing all incidents across the county and using detailed analysis to identify hot spots and target resources effectively.
A similar reduction has been achieved with regards to fly tipping where partnership work with local councils and the Environment Agency has led to a reduction in the number of reported incidents, from 385 in the 12 months to March 2018 to 349 in the 12 months to March 2022.
Despite the positive trend, it is believed the problem is bigger than documented, with incidents going unreported.
Increased work around encouraging the reporting of incidents along with the government’s proposed changes to fly tipping will continue to be a focus.
In the 12 months to February 2022, there were 202 unauthorised encampments across Essex, down from 530 in the 12 months to 2018.
The reduction has been the result of years of close co-operation between partners and engagement with rural communities leading to positive and productive long-term relationships.