TRADERS in Grays High Street and the town’s shopping centre say they have noticed a remarkable improvement in the town and want to thank Essex Police for the additional resources devoted to Grays.
The Grays Town Police Team was created in February this year and Keith Evans, manager of Grays Shopping Centre, said: “It’s made a real difference.
“Shopkeepers and the public have been telling us they feel far happier coming to Grays now there are more bobbies on the beat.”
Retailers met at the Grays Town Partnership meeting last Thursday and called on the police to keep the dedicated team in place.
Mr Evans added that the feedback from shoppers is that it is good to see police officers walking the town centre, they are “a tangible deterrent”.
And he said store tenants – especially those on the Townlink radio system – appreciated the speed of police responses, adding: “The PCSOs are also well thought of and do provide a high-profile presence that was missing.”
Mark Blanks, manager of Boots in the High Street, said:“Shoplifting incidents are definitely down and following the great weather, we’ve seen profits rise – so the combined effect of weather and the police is making Grays a safer place for shoppers to visit.”
The Grays Town Police Team consists of two police officers and four PCSOs. It was formed following concerns from traders and members of the public about anti-social behaviour, street- drinking and shoplifting in the town centre.
In its first five months, until June, the team made 69 arrests, issued 40 cannabis warnings and seized alcohol from street drinkers more than 270 times.
They regularly patrol the High Street, shopping centre and surrounding areas and work closely with local neighbourhood officers to prevent and detect crime and disorder, gather intelligence and hold beat surgeries where residents can raise concerns.
Mr Evans said: “The police team has made a tremendous difference to Grays, not only making it a safer place to visit, but making it feel a better and safer place too.
“I would urge Essex Police to not only make sure they continue with the Grays Town Police Team, but to learn from its success and create other similar teams throughout the county.”