CRIME and persistent anti-social behaviour in a Thurrock neighbourhood has dropped significantly thanks to an operation to target troublemakers.
Reported incidents in the Dilkes Park area of South Ockendon fell from 34 in October 2015 to three in December 2015.
Operation Teuton was set up in October after residents raised concerns about incidents including criminal damage, nuisance behaviour and arsons.
Police carried out patrols in the area, where they spoke with young people and wrote to parents and shopowners about the issues.
They liaised with Thurrock Council about installing CCTV in Darenth Lane, which is now in place, to help deter offenders and give further reassurance to residents.
Discussions are continuing about how lighting can be improved in the park, shelters were taken down and the council’s anti-social behaviour and environment teams worked closely with police and residents to help bring this result about.
Officers also dealt with an incident of hate crime against a resident living off Tamarisk Road in November. Two 15-year-old boys were identified and the matter was dealt with by way of community resolution, in which they both made apologies in writing and in person.
As a result of the ongoing work around Operation Teuton, there has been a significant drop in the number of reported incidents.
In October, police received 34 calls in total relating to anti-social behaviour and criminal damage in the beat area that includes Dilkes Park.
This fell to 14 the following month and to three in December.
Thurrock district commander Chief Insp Leigh Norris said: "As soon as this issue was identified, my team responded very promptly and professionally to address it, through a variety of tactics and through collaborative work with external agencies, including Thurrock Council.
"Hate crime is a particularly distressing and despicable crime that targets the vulnerable in our community and I am pleased that our combined efforts have proven successful and we have been able to identify suspects and bring them to justice.
"I know the effects of these offences might last long in the memory of the victims but hopefully our actions will show them that such activity doesn’t have to be tolerated and that we will do all we can to bring about a positive conclusion.”
Councillor Sue Gray, mayor of Thurrock and ward member for Belhus including Dilkes Park, said: "It’s very encouraging that things are getting better around Dilkes Park.
"I have been campaigning about these issues for two years and it is great that the police and other agencies are successfully combatting the problems.
"I also want to say the police do a great job in our borough. Our police officers and PCSOs are the best.”
Councillor Jane Pothecary, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for public protection, added: "The council and Essex Police meet regularly to discuss ways we can work together to improve the lives of local people.
"This work in Ockendon and Belhus is a good example of how this joint approach benefits everyone.”
• Report incidents to Essex Police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.