IN the first few weeks of the new Safer Streets scheme in Grays, the council’s Community Engagement Officers have hit the ground running playing a key role in the arrest of a drug dealer and the jailing of a prolific shop-lifter.
Increased enforcement in the town centre as a result of the scheme, has also seen 28 Fixed Penalty Notices issued in connection with littering, fly-posting and the Public Space Protection Order for street drinking offences.
Additional officers, attached to the council’s Environmental Enforcement Team, began patrolling Grays on 19 August after the Council received £625,000 in funding from the government to boost CCTV, lighting and security on the High Street.
Leader of Thurrock Council and Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “The additional resources we have been able to deploy in Grays are having real results – tackling crimes we know residents and local businesses are extremely concerned about.
“In just the first few weeks our officers have sent a strong warning to criminals: our focus means you will be spotted, you will be traced and you will be arrested.
“As well as delivering highly visible patrols preventing anti-social and criminal activity the team act as the eyes and ears of the police passing on valuable intelligence to make sure wrong-doers are caught and arrested.
“The scheme is already seeing results and will play a key role in making Grays safer and boosting its night-time economy as significant investment takes place thanks to nearly £20 million from the government’s Towns Fund and tens of millions more being invested by businesses.
“We know there are still problems to overcome in Grays but these additional officers, working in close partnership with Essex police, will start to make an impact on the anti-social behaviour experienced by shoppers and shop owners alike.”
Thurrock engagement officers helped police find, trace and secure evidence against a prolific shoplifter, leading to him being sentenced to six weeks in prison. They also spotted a possible drug deal between two men and engaged them until police arrived to arrest both.