FOLLOWING the recent shooting in Tilbury, the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate, and opposition leader on the council has called for action.
John Kent says he has been proven right over the closure of Tilbury Police Station and that the council should act to help cash-strapped Essex Police.
Speaking on Thursday (27 September) he said: “Back in 2016 I said closing the police station was a mistake and from what the force is saying they’re agreeing with me now.
“Chief Inspector Claire Talbot, District Commander for Thurrock has said she’s ‘putting a mobile police station in the area so please come and say hello’. She wouldn’t have to do that if Tilbury Police Station was still open.
“She says people will see ‘high visibility patrols’ and that’s what we’ve been calling for; not just in Tilbury, but across Thurrock.
“She says ‘my officers will be there to engage with the community and answer any questions’. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?”
Mr Kent said: “It’s a little known fact that Tilbury Police Station is actually owned by the council, so why can’t it be used? Essex Police and Thurrock Council should quickly come to a deal so Chief Inspector Talbot’s officers are permanently available and visible.
“A sticking plaster is all very well in the short term, but people want, and deserve, a permanent solution.”
He added: “She also says ‘there have been a number of issues’ in that part of Tilbury recently. Yes there have, but it’s not just Tilbury. The reduction in officers is an issue felt across the borough.
“Its an issue constantly being raised by people on the doorstep and in the street when we speak with them; and it comes down to funding from central government.
“This government’s complacent attitude to police morale and police numbers is the reason why people are afraid, it is one of the main reasons crime – and serious crime at that – is on the increase.
“It’s time government, Thurrock Council and Essex Police acted to stop the streets of Tilbury – and Thurrock as a whole – from getting totally out of control.
“It’s time for increased police funding and noticeably increased police numbers so we can all feel and be safer in our homes and in our streets.
“And it’s time police officers were properly paid enough to do their job. They work on our behalf, it’s time the government recognise that.”