THURROCK Council portfolio holder for public protection, cllr Jane Pothecary has expressed her concerns at the extremely critical report into Essex Police by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI).
Cllr Pothecary said: "This report is disappointing and worrying, if not surprising. There are some major issues here, not least anti-social behaviour. The inspectors say the force should ensure it identifies, supports and properly provides an effective level of service to victims of ASB.
"It was back in the autumn we said not responding to 97 per cent of ASB incidents was failing our residents. It seems the police inspectorate agrees. Working on anti-social behaviour is not something a council has to carry out and in these financially difficult times we have to concentrate on the things councils have to do by law, like look after our older people properly. We can’t do the police’s job for them.
"The report also refers to using local policing teams better – especially as numbers are about to be cut. We’ve made our position clear on this, with a motion supported at council and letters written to our MPs. Neighbourhood policing teams are the eyes and ears of policing and essential to protecting Thurrock and our residents.
Another worry are the serious concerns raised over protection of our most vulnerable residents. The force has serious weaknesses around safeguarding and protecting vulnerable people as well as supporting victims. This is particularly worrying in respect of the poor standard of child protection investigations.
The report states that although there are "processes for identifying and monitoring sexual offenders" it says "officers’ knowledge of the threats posed by registered sex offenders in their areas is limited". This cannot be allowed to continue and work must be done quickly to rectify it, to prevent harm.
Finally I’d like to say that Thurrock Council will keep working in partnership with Essex Police. We need to work together if we are to provide the best possible services for local people.