Thurrock Independant’s new Party Leader Councillor Luke Spillman has expressed his concerns on the police budget cuts that have ‘forced the police to almost entirely withdraw from public spaces’.
Councillor Spillman attended the public meeting back in January in Aveley hosted by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire snd Crime Commissioner and senior Police and Fire Services representatives.
Councillor Spillman said: “I expressed my concerns that budget cuts had forced the police to almost entirely withdraw from public spaces. Rather than proactive prevention, policing in Thurrock had been reduced to simply reacting and often not even able to do this, to crimes after they have been committed.”
The Councillor went on to suggest that “Many public spaces within Thurrock were no longer safe for the public to inhabit. I also stated that the only reason things weren’t worse than they already were, was a matter of luck rather than any operational or policy judgement.”
“Sadly we must admit that many parts of Thurrock are dangerous places to visit, especially for those more vulnerable to becoming a target.
“Law and order in Thurrock is hanging by a thread and the police simply aren’t equipped to take back control of our streets. This isn’t sensationalism, we’ve all seen it with our own eyes.
“I have personally witnessed rival gangs confronting each other with knives drawn in Grays High Street.”
Not knocking the police force themselves, Councillor Spillman insisted: “I have an enormous amount of respect for Thurrock’s police. They appear to be in an impossible position.
“Officers are doing their very best but they simply do not have anywhere close to the resources they need. I am concerned that staffing levels are so inadequate that officers are being placed at genuine risk of harm.”
One local Grays resident who has been living in Grays for more than thirty years. told The Enquirer: “I agree with the councillor, the crime level is on the increase here, and we don’t see any police anymore.
“There used to be police walking about, now we don’t see anyone anymore, it’s really sad. We want to see the police back on our streets.”
Councillor Spillman said “Thurrock Council, Essex Police and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner need to honestly represent the needs and will of the public.
“They must openly and publicly express to the Government how the resources available do not allow them to monitor, police and keep safe many public spaces within the borough.
“Only then will pressure be placed on the Government to provide the resources we need.
“If these resources are not provided in the short term, then we risk the complete collapse of law and order in Thurrock.”