ON Thursday (29 October) Thurrock’s portfolio holder for public protection told leading Essex Police officials of her concerns for the service.
A day earlier Cllr Jane Pothecary had told members of the full council that she would be at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s panel meeting in Chelmsford to discuss Essex Police’s response “to the drastic cuts to their budget”.
Speaking after the panel, Cllr Pothecary said: “As the cabinet member for communities as well as public protection, I challenged the decisions of the commissioner and the Chief Constable not to respond to 97 per cent of supposed ‘low level’ crime like anti-social behaviour.
“I also disputed their plan to close two of the borough’s remaining three police stations.”
She added: “I thought it was important that they knew of the deep dissatisfaction Thurrock people have about their experiences of calling 101 – the non-emergency police telephone line – and the problems moving away from traditional ways of reporting crime can cause.
“Online reporting is something I welcome, but there must be emphasis on providing a range of ways of getting in touch with the police for those who are not computer or internet savvy, or who do not have regular access to the Internet.”
Cllr Pothecary said: “I understand fully the terrible predicament Essex Police are in. With Â£63 million pounds of further cuts forced upon them, Essex Police are having to make really difficult decisions.
“But they need to understand why the people of Thurrock are so concerned.
“Anti-behaviour and what they consider ‘low-level crime’ is not a minor thing to its victims.
“These crimes can have a massive impact on people’s lives and their health – and it can destroy communities.
“I will be writing to the Home Secretary to share my concerns about the impact of government cuts on Essex Police’s ability to keep us safe.”