Police and Crime Commissioner S Briefing Note

Police and Crime Commissioner S Briefing Note

Briefing Note for the Police and Crime Commissionner

Halstead Public Meeting 07/09/17

District Profile

Braintree District is one part of the Uttlesford and Braintree District Policing Area (DPA) which comprises two of England’s largest districts, covering 484 square miles. The DPA consists of five growing market towns at Braintree, Witham, Halstead, Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow and the surrounding rural areas. The population of the DPA is increasing and is currently estimated to comprise of over 224,042 residents and 93,300 households.

The DPA presents a challenging mix of urban and rural policing. Stretching from the middle of the county to the borders with Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, it is split into 124 parishes with 107 parish councils and four town councils.

The M11, A120, A12, A130 and A131 run through the DPA and the DPA is linked to London by two separate railway lines, with stops in Braintree, Kelvedon, Witham and Hatfield Peverel and Great Chesterford, Wendons Ambo, Newport, Elsenham and Stansted Mountfitchet.

The rail and road links to London allow a high proportion of the population to commute to work. These links also make cross-border travelling more viable for criminals.Braintree district covers 236 square miles and has a population of151,193.It is predicted that by 2025, the overall population of Braintree District will grow by 8.39% to 164,451 residents.Comparing census information for Braintree District from 2001 & 2011 shows us that the population has grown by 10% or 14,905 people.

Policing Structure and Resources

The Uttlesford and Braintree DPA is part of the North Local Policing Area (LPA).

The DPA is run by one District Commander, who has one Community Policing Team Inspector and three Local Policing Team Inspectors.

The DPA has two operating bases, Braintree Police Station andThe Lodge Police Base in Saffron Walden. The DPA is covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by the Local Policing Teams (LPTs) operating from these two bases.

The LPTs have an establishment of three Inspectors, 12 Sergeants and 78 Constables.

Braintree and Uttlesford have separate district councils and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) but the DPA has one Community Policing Team (CPT) to serve them. The CPT divides itself to cover two Community Safety Hubs, one at Braintree District Council and the other at Uttlesford District Council. Uttlesford and Braintree CPT has an establishment of one Inspector, two Sergeants, eight Police Constables, nine Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) andten Special Constables, split across two shifts. The DPA also has two additional PCSOs funded by Uttlesford District Council. Also serving the two district councils/CSPs are one Police Licensing Officer, one Crime Prevention Tactical Adviser and one Missing Persons Liaison Officer.

There is a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) based at Braintree Police Station.

The custody suite at Braintree has closed and so all prisoners from the DPA must be taken to the nearest custody suite with available cells - usually Colchester, Chelmsford or Harlow.

There are two police front counters within the DPA that are currently open to the public: Braintree Police Station is open between 9am and 5pm, seven days per week and a police front counter facility is maintained from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, within the reception at Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden.

The DPA is supported by a cadre of Special Constables, consisting of one Special Inspector, three Special Sergeants and 23 Special Constables. The Special Constables support both the LPTs and the CPTs as well as running Policing events and operations.

The DPA is further supported by a growing number of volunteers and volunteer groups including Active Citizens, Neighbourhood Watch and Farm Watch.

Essex Police run a successful Volunteer Police Cadet unit in Withamfor young people aged between 13 and 18 years from a range of backgrounds. The Cadets benefit from the opportunities offered by the programme and deliver volunteering hours in support of local policing initiatives.

Community Concerns and Media

Unauthorised Encampments –In recent weeks the District has seen a significant number of Unauthorised Encampments which have been the subject of several news articles in the local newspapers. In all cases have been subject to appropriate Police monitoring and activity and have followed national protocol, Essex Police policy and the law. Both Essex Police and Braintree District Council work with theEssex County Traveller Unit and Braintree District Council pay towardsthe Essex County Traveller Unit service.

Robberies– Duringthe past year the District has suffered a number of robberies atvarious shops and Post Offices. Thorough investigations into these offences have led to a number of arrests and imprisonments, further investigations are continuing and further arrests and prosecutions are anticipated. The District’s LPTs and CPTs have worked together with the CID on the majority of these investigations and other cases have been investigated by Essex Police’s Serious Crime Directorate. Crime prevention advice has been provided to the victims by our Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor.

Police Visibility and Police Station Closures - Although Essex Police and their Community Safety Partners help maintain Braintree as a safe, low crime district, the community remains concerned with the perceived level of visible police officers. The DPA follows the directions and policies on Community Engagement given to them by Essex Police when it reformed from Neighbourhood Policing to Community Policing Teams and reduced the number of PCSOs. Community engagement is through regular and pre-advertised Local Community Meetings, social and traditional media and through targeted events according to need. The DPA also continues to expand its use of volunteers such as Active Citizens and Volunteer Police Cadets to deliver targeted engagement.

The message to communities is that Police Officers are targeted and deployed to locations and incidents where crime and anti-social behaviour are assessed to pose a substantial threat, harm or risk and we continue to look to our volunteers and partners to help us to provide engagement and problem solving inareas of low risk or concern.

Communities are also concerned regarding the closures of Halstead and Witham Police Stations. They fear that closure of the stations will lead to an increase in crime and ASB. Halstead police station was sold in July £377,000 and this will go towards continual investment in technology to keep officers mobile and out of the police stations as much as possible to maximise their patrol time and their ability to provide a prompt response. The technology, such as mobile data devices is much more cost effective and sustainable than maintaining old and decaying buildings. This approach is further supported by Essex Police’s “Do-it-online” campaign which provides online access to a range of services and online reporting.

Media –The DPA provides the local media with a detailed weekly briefing as well as responding to media enquiries through Essex Police’s Press Office. This weekly briefing is also provided to our Community Safety Partners and Parish and Town Councils. The DPAsOfficers are active on social media and our CPTs Twitter and Facebook are linked to our webpage ( so residents don’t need a Twitter or Facebook account to read our latest news, information and advice.

Examples of Problem Solving Initiatives

  1. An individual was responsible for numerous, frequent and repeated incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) against, neighbours, businesses and agencies trying to provide him and the community with a service. Braintree Community Safety Hub completed a problem solving assessment and coordinated a plan to tackle the ASB.The partners obtainedsufficient evidence to prosecute the individual for criminal damage and thenobtained a Criminal Behaviour Order thatexcludes the individual from entering an area of Braintree and from attending the offices of Braintree District Council or Greenfields Community Housing unless by prior arrangement. As a result the individual has left the area and the ASB has stopped.
  2. Essex Police, Braintree District Council and Greenfields Community Housing were all receiving numerous calls to a rented flat about an individualwith alcohol and drug dependency issue, who allowed a number of undesirable people to live and use the address, causing neighbours considerable distress. Braintree Community Safety Hub completed a problem solving assessment and developed a plan to resolve the issue. They gathered evidence to obtain a 3 month closure order on the property which banned anyone from attending the property,apart from the tenant and the appropriate agencies. The order was enforced by the Police who also targeted the undesirable people who were trying to attend the address until they stopped. At the same time partnership support was found for the tenant to help her with her drug and alcohol addiction and to ensure she was getting the correct benefits. Initially the tenant was very angry about the closure order and the fact it was being robustly enforced, but then she started to positively engage with her support workers, Greenfield Community Housing team,Braintree District Council and the Police. By the time the three month closure noticed finished the tenant was on the road to recovery and the ASB had stopped. The tenant has gone on to become a mentor to others who are struggling with alcohol addiction and she has an aim to become a support worker.

Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Data

The table below sets out the crime figures for Braintree District, comparing reports for 1st August 2016 to 31st July 2017 with 1st August 2015 to 31st July 2016 for the Braintree district and the Force.

Areas of note for Braintree district:

  • All Crime has increased by 5.3% (376 more offences).
  • Violence without Injury has increased by 20.5% (245 more offences).
  • Robbery has increased by 110.8% (41 more offences)
  • Dwelling Burglary (Pre-Apr 17 definition) has decreased by 18.8% (94 fewer offences).
  • Other Burglary (pre- April 17 definition) has decreased by 5.9% (30 fewer offences).
  • Theft from the Person has decreased by 38.7% (36 fewer offences).

  • ASB Incidents has decreased by 7.0% (235 fewer incidents).

Other districts – All Crime offences and per 1000 population:

Overall reported crime has increased by 5.3% (376 more offences) in the DPA and much of this is within the Violence without Injurycategory which has increased by 20.5% (245 more offences).

Some of this increase is as a result of changes to the National Crime Recording Standards counting rules. Violence without Injury offences have increased nationally due to changes in the recording process, which has resulted in previously unrecorded crimes such as harassment and malicious communications being added.

Increases are also attributable to positively encouraged reporting and recording of domestic abuse. Around34% of Violence without Injury offences in the DPA were as a result of domestic abuse.

Operation Juno is one of the force’s responses to tackling domestic abuse. The DPAis served by a team of Operation Juno officers at Chelmsford Police Station who are dedicated to investigating domestic abuse related offences and offenders.

The DPA does not have a significant night-time economy (NTE), but the DPA’s licensing officer, CPT and partners are active in ensuring that the district’s licensees maintain a safe NTE, with a particularly well supported and effective Pubwatch and a ‘Behave or Be Banned’ scheme in the main towns and surrounding villages. Over 100 offenders have been banned from drinking in Pubwatch members’ premises under the DPAs Behave or Be Banned scheme.

Robbery has increased by 110.8% (41 more offences) whilst Theft from the Person has decreased by 38.7% (36 fewer offences). The definition of the two offence types is very similar and, once again, the stricter application of the National Crime Recording Standards is likely to have resulted in more of these offences being recorded as the more serious ‘robbery offence’ rather than the simpler ‘Theft from the Person’. None-the-less, as detailed in the Community Concerns section of this document, during the past year the District has suffered a number of robberies at various shops and Post Offices. Thorough investigations into these offences has led to a number of arrests and imprisonments, further investigations are continuing and further arrests and prosecutions are anticipated. The District’s LPTs and CPTs have worked together with the CID on the majority of these investigations and other cases have been investigated by Essex Police’s Serious Crime Directorate. Crime prevention advice has been provided to the victims by our Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor

Dwelling Burglary (Pre-Apr 17 definition) has decreased by 18.8% (94 fewer offences) and this is due to effective and intensive joint work between CID, CPT and the Integrated Offender Management Team (IOM), whose targeting of key offenders led to the disruption of their offending and their imprisonment or diversion away from offending.

Anti-Social Behaviour(ASB)incidents in Braintree District have decreased by 7.0% (235 fewer incidents).This reduction is a result of intelligence-led and targeted police and partnership activity, against offenders, and at key locations and events.

Serious Crime Directorate

The DPA is supported by a number of forcewide teams including the Serious Crime Directorate (SCD) who have targeted a number of offenders in the DPA.

A male was arrested in Witham after failing to stop for Police and ramming a police car. Cocaine with a street value of £2,500 was found in the offender’s car and when police searched his home they found cannabis worth £1,500.

The SCD continued an investigation into the male’s associates and a warrant was executed at an associates address in Southampton; the associate was arrested and cocaine with a street value of about £17,800 was seized.

A third associate was subsequently arrested and charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine.

All three were found guilty and sentenced to five-and-a-half years, seven years and six years and eight months respectively.

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