Boost to community safety resources proposed

Published Tuesday, 12th June 2018

Cllr Mark Flewitt

The Council is set to significantly expand its community safety team, with a proposal to invest £250,000 to recruit 6 new members of staff.

Cabinet members will be asked to agree the recommendations at its meeting on Tuesday 19 June (agenda item 4).

The proposals would see 5 new community safety officers recruited (to work alongside one already in post) and a new community safety team leader, as part of a much larger team operating as part of the community safety hub. The new team would work flexibly to include evening and weekend response and to be considered alongside other existing Council, South Essex Homes and Police resources, to provide an out of hours response to tackling anti-social behaviour.

The proposal follows the work of the policy and resources scrutiny committee which considered how a more effective enforcement function could best meet the demands and challenges that the town and council faces. They concluded that additional resources were required to provide an enhanced enforcement presence in Southend-on-Sea.

Cllr Mark Flewitt, cabinet member for public protection, says: “All councillors are well aware of growing concerns amongst residents, community groups and businesses related to community safety across the Borough, but particularly focused in central Southend and the town centre itself.

“Much of this concern has focused around rough sleeping, homelessness, street drinking and anti-social behaviour associated with drug related crime. There have been a number of high profile incidents in recent months some of which have attracted national media attention and sadly the most recent of which resulted in a fatality. What has become clear is that the Council’s existing community safety team is not sufficiently resourced to be able to respond and support partner agencies like the Police as it would wish to at both a strategic and operational level.

“Putting in additional resources is therefore the right thing to do as a council and on behalf of the local community and I know will have a real positive impact. I would particularly like thank the cross party scrutiny project team for their excellent work on this issue.”