Cllr Neil Stock is the Leader of Tendring District Council.

Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour is no longer the sole responsibility of the Police. It quite rightly falls to all organisations, agencies and communities to play their part in tackling what can often be complicated and inter-woven issues and problems.

To tackle effectively the complex challenges facing us in North East Essex, ranging from gangs, drugs, people-trafficking, modern-slavery and anti-social behaviour, it was clear that we needed innovative solutions and a different approach. Essex Police and Tendring District Council worked together to develop a Community Safety Partnership Hub. This approach would mean partners could share formal and informal information. It was also important to create the environment whereby partners could use their respective powers to most effectively address problems; as an example, there are over 200 legal-powers held by different agencies to enter private properties but only 30 are with the police.

To create great outcomes, it was essential to provide an effective service to the public with partners working closely together under the ethos of;

  • Co-locate
  • Communicate
  • Coordinate.

The aims were;

  • Increased levels of visible partnership working
  • Collective approach dealing with key issues through improved information sharing
  • Reduction in costs by avoiding duplication of effort with minimum contribution leading to maximum return
  • Early identification of vulnerability and risk
  • Timeliness of response to local emerging issues

The success of the Hub is the design, development and implementation of a district-based partnership team, by a combination of physical or virtual co-location, responding together to resolve specific issues within, and identified by, the community. The membership of the team is dynamic and varies according to targeted priorities and local issues.

The training of senior police officers and Council Community Safety Managers was done with myself, as Leader of the Council, The Chief Executive of the Council and senior police officers to establish the ethos of partnership and to ensure everyone understood the different perspectives of partners.

Over 47 partners have been involved in the Hub and its activities, including:

  • Tendring District Council
  • Essex Police
  • Housing providers
  • Crimestoppers
  • Wide range of voluntary sector
  • Essex County Council
  • Department Work and Pensions (Job Centre Plus)
  • Churches Together
  • Chelsea Football Club Foundation
  • Essex Offender Services
  • Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

There have been a wide range of outcomes, including reduction of crime, community support and identifying and protecting vulnerable people. There have also been several proactive initiatives such as the district Council employing a gang worker to reduce the number of young people joining gangs or helping them leave gangs, which can include children as young as nine. The success of the partnership has been the engagement of partners who are not always the obvious ones, such as the Fire Service or Housing enforcement officers.

Hubs are being rolled out across Essex. Essex Police working together with relevant Community Safety Partnerships are working to establish similar Partnership Hubs across all Essex Police operational areas.

An independent review of the pilot operation has been completed. The Local Government Association peer review found that there were real positive benefits to the Partnership Hub model. They found that the pilot hubs have been successful in promoting stronger working relationships between police and partners. Information sharing and communication had also improved.

It was very satisfying that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Police recently identified Essex Police as the most improved service in the country and the Community Safety Hubs were specifically cited as good practice and one of the reasons for the improvement.

We nicknamed it the Al Capone Group – despite being the most famous gangster of all time Capone was never convicted for his many crimes such as murder, bootlegging and racketeering; he was sent to prison for tax evasion!

In an era when the public sector is constantly asked to achieve more with less money, we have to innovate and work together; it’s never going to be easy but sometimes it is possible.