NEW town centre police teams have been announced to get more officers on the streets.

A total of 23 new Town Centre Teams are due to be in place this summer.

Essex Police has 3,062 full time equivalent officers on the force and as a result 23 dedicated teams in town centres will be working alongside the existing Community Policing Teams.

Towns set to benefit include Colchester, Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Canvey Island, Chelmsford, Clacton, Harwich, Maldon, Rayleigh , Rochford, Saffron Walden, Southend, South Woodham Ferrers, Stanford-le-Hope, Wickford and Witham.

Essex Police has plans for further growth bringing officer numbers up to 3,218.

Another 32 operational police staff will also be hired to provide specialist support such as securing civil injunctions against those causing serious harm.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “People across the county have been telling me they want more police officers and they were prepared to pay more to get them.

"My budget this year for Essex Police means the Chief Constable will be able to bring police officers numbers to 3,218 by March next year which will get the force near where it needs to be and deal with the level of demand.

“The increase in officers will make a real difference to our towns and communities.

"Our vision for Essex is that safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success and wellbeing for all. One of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is more local, visible and accessible policing.

“This boost in resource will make a huge difference to that for the people of Essex.”

Chief Constable BJ Harrington added: "This is is good news for the county. Essex Police is a good force, and an ambitious one and has faced some of the challenges of the last few years head on.

“Now is our time to grow our force once more and ensure that we are tackling the things that most hurt the people of Essex.

“My direction for the force and where these officers will be focused directly supports tackling violence, protecting the vulnerable, providing a better service to victims and providing visibility to the people of Essex of all that we do.

“I am really looking forward to watching our force grow, both in officer and staff numbers but also in the areas of technology as we do more to ensure we deliver the best service we can to all our communities.”

The Town Centre Teams will be led by a sergeant with one in each of the ten Community Policing Teams (CPTs).

They will be focussing on tackling violence, protecting the vulnerable, providing a better service to victims and of providing visibility by increasing community engagement, working closely with partners, businesses and retailers and reducing crime and antisocial behaviour.

The towns benefitting from a new team have been identified through careful analysis of calls for police service, reported crime and anti-social behaviour in each area along with the population of each town. This has enabled us to prioritise the areas where we know they will have the most impact on crime and disorder.

With the ten sergeants and 58 constables this will see 68 officers dedicated to these town centres.

There will be four constables in Basildon, two in Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood and Canvey Island, four in Chelmsford and Colchester, three in Clacton, Grays and Harwich, two in Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, and Saffron Walden, five in Southend, two in South Woodham Ferrers, Stanford-le-Hope, Wickford and Witham.