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Press release

Local Impact – Essex

Police Now officers tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across Essex

Friday 21 May 2021

Nearly 700 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 10%

Substantial decrease in shoplifting, burglary and theft amongst other crimes

Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing

Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in Essex.

Communities where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months across the force area have seen 689 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 10 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 176 fewer incidents of shoplifting – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 121 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 8 per cent – and 110 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a 6 per cent fall.

Temporary Police Sergeant Rosanna Walker of Essex Police helped bring to justice a knifeman who tried to force a woman with a child into a car at a supermarket. He was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

She also worked with Colchester Institute and knife crime charities to educate around 3,000 secondary school pupils on the dangers of knife crime. Young people not in schools were engaged with at youth clubs and through social media. Two enforcement days using a knife arch – a walk-through metal detector – drove home the message. Nine in ten young people learned something new about knife crime and felt more confident in reporting it. Temporary Police Sergeant Walker initiated a project with the University of Essex which has led to academic experts using state-of-the-art technology to compare and analyse data on unemployment, deprivation and knife crime. This is expected to improve understand of a complex issue and help protect young people in Essex.

Temporary Police Sergeant Walker said: “I am certain that a force that better reflects the community it serves is best placed to bring down anti-social behaviour. We want every person we deal with to feel comfortable speaking to us. As an officer who understands the community, you are best placed to solve problems.”

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including Essex Police. Chief Constable BJ Harrington has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past four years, with 87 police constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Of those starting on Police Now’s programmes in Essex in 2020, a quarter (25 per cent) of the Police Now recruits identified as coming from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background and a third (33 per cent) identified as women.

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

David Spencer

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector

Rosanna Walker_HO secondment non-uniform
Temporary Police Sergeant | Rosanna Walker

Q&A with Temporary Police Sergeant Rosanna Walker

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Alumnus

Essex Constabulary

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

I am certain that a force that better reflects the community it serves is best placed to bring down ASB.

Firstly, we want every person we deal with to feel comfortable to speak to us. Tragic cases such as that of Fiona Pilkington show us the importance of being approachable and fully listening to members of our community. As human beings, we open up to people we can relate to on some level. By showing we are individuals, people will understand that we care and will come forward for help.

Secondly, as an officer who understands your community, you are best placed to problem-solve. You may better understand those problems, understand the reactions they cause and the impact they have on community. This spurs you on that bit further to do the best you can do.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

Police Now has taught me to be bold and just do it! That’s how you will leave a legacy in policing. If you have an idea, do your research. If it still looks like a good idea, take action. There will be a lot of obstacles and “walls of no”, but I think you have to see past that and have the confidence to continue. Never settle for “because we’ve always done it that way”. There are always people willing to help you in this job, of all ranks and roles. As long as you’re trying to do the right thing for the right reasons, you can’t go far wrong.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

Together with my community policing team and a host of partner agencies, I worked with Colchester Institute to educate around 3,000 secondary school pupils on the dangers of knife crime and to promote safety. Our approach included an engagement event involving social media and numerous lessons taught by local knife crime charities. This was then followed by two enforcement days with a working ‘knife arch’.

To access children who, for various reasons, were not in school, I engaged with youth clubs in knife crime hotspot areas in order to deliver talks on the realities of knife crime and provide support and reassurance to a wider pool of people at risk. We saw good results following my visit to youth clubs in Colchester, with 94% having learnt something new about knife crime and how to protect themselves, and with 88% of youths feeling more confident to report knife crime.

Because of the availability and quality of data, which are typically limited to the national scale and do not give a nuanced picture of knife crime at the local level, I decided to approach the University of Essex. There, I found out about the Catalyst Project. This is a multi-million-pound fund to improve community services for vulnerable people. After a few meetings, I put together a Data Processing Contract and now police data on knife crime are with the University research team for analysis. Academic experts are using state-of-the-art technology to conduct geo-demographic analysis, comparing data on unemployment, deprivation and knife crime.

Recommendations from the study will enable a clearer understanding of our local knife problem and provide future partnership opportunities with external agencies to ultimately help young people protect themselves from the dangers they face.

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

My first case in CID was an incident where a man had approached a woman in a car park at Asda. She had a child with her and was putting the shopping away in the car. He didn’t know her but had a kitchen knife and tried to get her into the car by pointing that at her stomach. She screamed and he walked away. He was then arrested. As my first detective case I was incredibly conscientious about doing a good job on it. The victim was suffering with severe PTSD and I wanted her to get the justice she deserved and to protect other people from this. I went to every court hearing and worked closely with the CPS and Counsel to argue our case. The suspect finally pleaded guilty and was convicted to four years in prison. The phone call to the victim to tell her gave me the biggest job satisfaction. It means she can get on with her life and shows you the outstandingly positive impact you can have on a person’s life in this job.

Data references

Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.

The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.


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Dorset Police

Police Now | Dorset Police
Scott Chilton - Dorset Police Chief Constable

Scott Chilton

Chief Constable

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