Smart thinking from Thurrock cops sees thief jailed

Basildon Magistrates Court

A MAN has been jailed for 12 weeks after he was caught red-handed trying to break into a car by quick thinking officers with the help of their smartphones.

Officers from the Grays Local Policing Team were out on patrol at just after midnight on Tuesday June 6 and were using their mobile phones to monitor ongoing and new incidents being reported to the force by members of the public.

When the officers saw, via an app on their mobiles, that a call had come in with reports of a suspicious man on the premises of a car showroom in Heron Way, Grays they were on the scene within minutes.

Armed with the suspect’s full description, the officers quickly confronted the man, 29-year-old Terry Jones, and arrested him. Due to the fact that Jones was caught red-handed and the strength of the CCTV evidence of him captured at the scene, Jones made full admissions during his interview.

Jones of Greenacres Close, Rainham admitted theft from a motor vehicle when he appeared at Basildon Magistrates’ Court. He was given a 12-week jail term, made up of eight weeks for the vehicle offence and a further four for breaching a suspended sentence order.

Chief Insp Gerry Parker of Essex Police’s Mobile First team, who are behind the roll out of smartphones to all uniformed officers said: “The introduction of smartphones is about keeping our frontline officers on the frontline where they need to be – that is demonstrated nowhere more clearly than in this case.

“Our local policing teams were out on patrol in the community and, using their mobiles, they were monitoring quick time incidents as they happened.

“This meant that as soon as the initial call came in about Jones they were able to get to the scene in minutes and arrest him.

“We know that the public want our officers to be more visible and accessible, not stuck in police stations ploughing through admin. The mobile phone technology we have introduced really is giving our officers more time to fight crime.”

Investigating officer PC Ashleigh Watkinson of the Grays local policing team added: “Previously, when an incident was called in, we would have been waiting to be despatched to the scene by our control room.

“Now, thanks to our mobile phones, we can monitor incidents as they happen, giving us a better chance of getting to the scene quickly, capturing evidence more quickly and in this case actually catching the suspect in the act.”

Essex Police rolled out smartphones to all uniformed officers in November 2016. The phones allow them to carry out vital policing tasks from the frontline, keeping them more visible to the communities they serve.

Jones was sentenced on Thursday June 22.

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