Sunday Comment: By Michael Casey
Marge Simpson: Homer, after all these years, is our marriage everything it should be?
Homer Simpson: Yeah I guess. Although I thought we would spend a lot more time driving around in a van solving crimes.
On Friday afternoon, I was interviewing Thurrock’s olympic torch-holders outside the Thameside Theatre. When I returned to my car in the car park at the back of the theatre, I could see three “east european” looking young men, looking somewhat furtive. Basically, they were looking and waiting. Infact, if one jumped to conclusions, they looked like they were waiting for a car to turn up and the occupants to hand them drugs in return for cash.
Sure, enough, a minute later, a audi turns up, one of the males hands something to the driver and the driver hands something to the driver.
The men walk away, the driver drives off.
As I am already in my car, I decide to follow the Audi. It makes its way up Orsett Road. I ring the Essex Police press office and “apprise them of the circumstances”, give them the reg no, direction of travel etc.
The audi drive to the flats at Seabrooke and that is where I left it (You mean you either lost them or got clocked-Ed)
The press office had told me that someone would be in touch. To this date (Sunday 1pm), no-one has.
I found it pertinent that we ended up near Grays Beach Park because only a couple of weeks previously, the place was flooded with police during T Fest.
There is always a police presence at T Fest but there seemed to be more than usual. There was a perception that the larger police presence was a reflection on the changing economic arrangement between the police and Thurrock Council.
Is there a danger that the police give the impression that they come across as “You pay, you say.” and that the privatisation of the police is well underway?
There are shopkeepers and residents all over Stanford-le-Hope that are getting fed up with a lack of dynamism from the police in fighting crime.
Distraction thefts from wedding shops, muggings of pensioners in Burgess Avenue. We could go on.
A few months ago, we saw a film crew with the police in Aveley. Last week we saw another film of special constables in South Ockendon and now channel 5 and Rav Wilding are also filming in Thurrock.
Meanwhile, there are witness statements not taken, evidence not collated and (allegedly) appointments with victims of crime missed.
With the only increase in the council tax coming from the police precept, the public may be entitled to look for value for money.
Perhaps these are issues that the new police commissioner may want to address.