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Extra patrols and engagement tackling anti-social behaviour in Chelmsford ‘hotspot’

High visibility patrols have been increased in a Chelmsford neighbourhood selected to receive funding to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Moulsham Street area chosen to receive funding

Moulsham Street was identified by Essex Police analysts as one of 11 ‘hotspots’ in Essex that could benefit from more frequent patrols, public engagement and outreach. Police and council officers have been working together as part of ‘Operation Dial’ to increase high visibility patrols in this residential city centre area, which is home to many independent businesses and licensed premises. Monthly, multi-agency ‘Nights of Action’ have also been taking place to reduce ASB in Chelmsford and provide support to residents when needed.

Community Police Officers Patrol Moulsham Street

Operation Dial has been made possible by a £1.1m central Government funding pot invested by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to target ASB hotspots across the county. The operation aims to make communities feel safer by increasing community protection, promoting engagement and early intervention, and encouraging residents to report instances of anti-social behaviour to police and local authorities.

Increased patrols by police and accredited council officers

From July 2023 until March 2024, Chelmsford’s community policing team is carrying out extra patrols along Moulsham Street to provide reassurance to residents and businesses in the area. In addition to this, accredited Chelmsford City Council officers are patrolling three times each week, based on data showing when and where this extra support will be most effective.

As well as looking out for any signs of ASB, they hope to encourage concerned residents and visitors to report any instances of anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Rose Moore, the council’s Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford says visible efforts to reduce ASB are vital.

"These high visibility patrols aim to boost public confidence, increase community cohesion, and to challenge behaviours where appropriate. Seeing officers within local communities can help residents and visitors feel more connected and feel safer.

“Moulsham Street is one of the older areas of Chelmsford, with a rich history and a diverse community who enjoy the many independent shops, bars and restaurants nearby. It’s also home to Chelmsford College, as well as being an important pedestrian route into and out of the city centre.

“Evidence shows that crimes are less likely to occur when there is a regular uniformed presence, and we hope the increased visibility of community safety officers in the area offers reassurance to the many people who visit and live in Old Moulsham. The officers are there for anyone who needs to seek advice or assistance.”

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for a Greener and Safer Chelmsford

Monthly Nights of Action in the city centre

Operation Dial is also funding monthly, multi-agency ‘Nights of Action’ in Chelmsford’s city centre. Officers from the council’s community safety and community protection teams, CCTV, licensing and parking teams work alongside Essex Police and the Chelmsford SOS Bus to help make Chelmsford a safe place to be at night. This collective approach enables different agencies to work together for a bigger impact, cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour and helping those in need.

The latest Night of Action took place on 18 November, and the next is scheduled for 15 December.

Teams Working Together During November's Night Of Action
Teams working together during November’s Night of Action

Partnerships crucial in reducing ASB

Operation Dial is also complementing wider efforts to tackle ASB across the Chelmsford district. In the city centre, Essex Police is working closely with Chelmsford’s Business Improvement District, Chelmsford For You, to combat anti-social behaviour reported by local businesses.

Andy Prophet, Essex Police’s Deputy Chief Constable and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for anti-social behaviour, says partnership working is already making a difference.

The reduction in ASB offences in Chelmsford and across Essex shows the work we are doing alongside our partners is having a significant positive impact.

“ASB is not ‘low-level’ offending. It damages communities and ruins lives, and we will continue to work closely with the council and other agencies to combat ASB and the underlying causes.

“Nobody should have to put up with intimidation or harassment on their doorstep and I want to encourage everyone to continue reporting incidents of ASB to us. The more information we know, the more we can do to tackle it.”

Andy Prophet, Deputy Chief Constable, Essex Police
Moulsham Street Is A Popular Pedestrian Route In To Chelmsford High Street
Moulsham Street is an important pedestrian route into the High Street

Why tackling ASB is important

During 2022, police forces in England and Wales received over a million crime reports about anti-social behaviour. In Essex, there were 18,771 ASB offences recorded from June 2022 to May 2023. ASB incidents in Chelmsford have fallen by 36.6% compared to the previous year, but it is still a concern for many.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, says visible police patrols are vital.

"Safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success, prosperity and well-being for all.

“At the heart of our approach, what has worked over the last eight years, is visible policing at the heart of our communities. The very latest figures for the year to October 2023, show anti-social behaviour in Chelmsford has fallen by 36.6 per cent in the last year alone. This approach is working.”

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex

If you have experienced or witnessed anti-social behaviour you can report it to Essex Police or to Chelmsford City Council.

Report ASB to Essex Police online here: www.essex.police.uk

You can report anti-social behaviour to Chelmsford City Council here: www.chelmsford.gov.uk

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Molly Smith
Molly Smith

Molly writes stories about public health, community safety, leisure, community sport, parking and Chelmsford Market.