To receive a verbal update on Police performance from Sergeant Matt Dalby, Essex Police.
The Chairman introduced Acting Chief Inspector (ACI) Kelly Thurston and Sergeant (Sgt) Matt Dalby, from Essex Police.
Sgt Dalby advised Members’ that he was the new Maldon Town team Sergeant and addressed the Committee drawing Members’ attention to the Essex Police Performance Summary report, appended to Agenda Item 6 – Maldon District Community Safety Partnership Update. He then provided Members with a detailed presentation and highlighted the following areas:
· Crime – There had been an increase in crime across the Maldon District of 5.2% overall with an increase of 7.7% in victim crime and reduction in state crime of 6.2%. There were a number of areas that had seen a reduction in crime with Anti-Social Behaviour being down by 61.8%.
· TRI Service Officer – The Maldon District was supported by a TRI Services Officer who visited rural communities offering advice on crime prevention, fire prevention and was also a trained first responder and working alongside the Police Rural Engagement Team. The Officer had acquired some great intelligence through his visits to local communities resulting in the successful executive of search warrants along with reductions in hare coursing and unauthorised encampments.
· Dedicated Schools Operation – Members were advised how Community Policing Teams were engaging with local Primary and Secondary schools which included dealing with any local parking or driving issues. The new Maldon Town Team were also jointly working with the Community Engagement Team and Enforcement Operations Manager on this issue.
· The Maldon Town Team was now operating from the Maldon Police Station and expected to be at full strength by December 2022 with a team of one sergeant and five constables.
Following the update and in response to questions from the Committee, ACI Thurston and Sgt Dalby provided the following information:
· Crime – In response to comments regarding the increase in crime rate, Members were advised how crime could only be solved if the evidence was there to support it. The Police did experience a lot of cases where crime was reported but people were then not wanting to engage it the process / provide evidence meaning that the particular case was not marked as a solved crime. Further examples were given, and it was highlighted how some cases of reported crime may have a positive outcome but would not show in the solved rate because the crime was not solved e.g. a crime committed by a child was directed to another service such as the Youth Offending Team. It was reported that a further rise in crime was expected because of the cost-of-living crisis. In response to a request for data around positive outcomes, ACI Thurston advised that she would see if it was something they were able to produce.
· Essex Police policy was for all burglaries to be attended by a Police Constable.
· Staffing – Members were reminded of the uplift in staff to the Maldon Town Centre team and that the levels for response teams was not changing. The Community Policing Team worked out of Chelmsford and covered both that area and Maldon.
· Schools – Within the Local Policing Area there were 90 primary and just under 30 secondary schools. The Police were keen to interact and support all schools but the level of support from schools differed greatly. ACI Thurston advised that they were looking to speak with Secondary school headteachers to highlight the benefits of schools having an open-door policy with the Police, moving away from the common negativity regarding Police attending schools. Essex Police were currently running a school project in Chelmsford called ‘Play as One’, running for ten-weeks, an Officer would be assigned to the school to engage with children identified as vulnerable (for a variety of reasons) and as an incentive at the end the children got to play football with a Chelmsford footballer, for example. ACI Thurston explained that although in its infancy it was hoped to get this rolled out to all schools from 2023.
· Knife crime – The knife bin outside the Council offices continued to be well used. A smaller knife bin (that houses a wheelie bin) had been acquired in conjunction with the Violence and Vulnerability Team. This smaller bin would be installed in January 2023 at Longfield.
Councillor M S Heard proposed that the Committee invite the Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner to attend the March 2023 meeting of this Committee. This was duly seconded and agreed.
The Chairman thanked Acting Chief Inspector Thurston and Sergeant Dalby for attending the meeting and their presentation.