Paying More for Policing – Your Opinion is Being Sought…

PFCC logoDo you want to see an improved Police Service in Essex? And are you willing to pay more Council Tax to provide it? Those are the questions being asked in a survey by Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

Essex residents’ opinions are being sought about increasing resources for Essex Police and also policing priorities for the county.

Funding for Essex Police comes from two sources – central Government and local Council Tax. Taking these two funding sources into account, Essex Police receives the second lowest funding per resident of any police force in the country and has one of the lowest Council Tax precepts for policing. Next year the police are also expecting significant additional costs from increases in police officer pay, higher insurance costs and changes to police officer pensions. There will also be costs as a result of extending the police’s Airwave radio system due to delays in the roll out of the National Emergency Services Communication Programme.

Roger Hirst says: “I want to provide the best possible policing service, which is what the people of Essex rightly deserve. Increasing investment will help the Chief Constable deliver this. I am working hard to lobby the Government but we cannot yet know the scale of any increase in central Government funding. I can of course raise the policing precept. Before I do that I want to know what people think.”

Last year Mr Hirst carried out a similar survey, which received more than 5,000 responses. Approximately two thirds of the people who answered (65%) said they would be prepared to see the police element of local Council Tax increased by more than two per cent, so that more money could be made available for policing in Essex. More than half were prepared to pay up to £20 more per year.

Mr Hirst says: “In light of the results from last year’s survey, I raised the policing element of the Council Tax by up to £12, or £1 a month, for a Band D property. (The Band D Council Tax amount for policing in Essex for 2018/19 is £169.02 per year). This increase, together with the £450 million in police funding secured nationally from the Government last year, allowed Essex Police to recruit 150 more frontline officers, bringing the total amount of Essex Police officers to at least 3,000. These additional officers are being recruited and trained and will be arriving in local communities by February 2019.”

He adds: “Whilst completing the survey I would also like residents to give their views on the policing priorities for Essex. I want to make sure that these priorities reflect the needs of the communities that Essex Police serves.”

The survey is an opportunity for residents to have their opinions about paying more for policing taken into account as part of the decision making process. It can be filled in online at: http://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/policing-precept-survey-2018/.

Hard copies are available, on request. Contact the PFCC’s office on 01245 291 600 for a copy, or e-mail pfcc@essex.pnn.police.uk. You can also write to PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB.

The survey went live on Tuesday November 6th and closes at midnight on Tuesday November 27th.

Note: The survey only reflects the policing element of the Council Tax precept and not the precept relating to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

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Fire Safety and Crime Prevention

Essex Fire's Rural Community Builders, in collaboration with Essex Police, are working to raise the awareness of safety issues in rural communities.

This awareness involves both fire safety and crime prevention and as part of this work, the Rural Community Builders have selected a number of villages in Braintree District to door knock and offer fire safety and crime prevention advice.

What a home safety visit involves:

  • Identifying and making people aware of the potential fire risks in their homes
  • Making sure people know what to do in order to reduce or prevent these risks
  • Helping people put together an escape plan in the event of a fire breaking out
  • Ensuring homes have a working smoke alarm.

If a home has no or an old smoke alarm they can arrange for a home safety visit to take place by one of their colleagues from the fire service where a smoke alarm will be fitted FREE of charge.

The Rural Community Builders are going to be door knocking in Little Maplestead on the 4th December 2018.

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Rural Crime Awareness Day

Essex Police’s Rural Crime Awareness Day, on Wednesday 14th November, will be of interest to everyone – businesses, farmers and anyone living in a rural location.

The aim of the event is to try and reduce rural crime by building stronger links with the rural and farming community, and raising awareness of security measures and products.

A number of companies and organisations will be exhibiting their products and services alongside police personnel and partners, who will be there to provide crime prevention, security measures and personal safety advice.

The event – at Slamseys Farm, Blackley Lane, Great Notley, CM77 7QW – will be free to attend and open to visitors from 10.00am until 3.00pm.

For further information, dial 101 and ask for Brenda Cross on extension 110019, or see poster here.

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Community Policing Team Changes

A consequence of the formation of Braintree’s Community Policing Team (CPT) in 2015 was a reduction in the number of community officers and a withdrawal of ‘beat officers’ from some local areas.

This means that local residents tend not to know who their local officers are – and the Community Policing Team is, in many cases, a faceless entity.

Since taking charge in February 2018, Inspector Colin Cox’s priorities have been to change how the local police interact with the public, encouraging greater community engagement and increasing the number of Police Officers on the Community Policing Team.

CPT numbers remain small but, in order to give residents the best possible service, Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have now been allocated specific local areas of responsibility.

This has been done to help officers develop a culture of ownership and pride in their area, so improving their relationship with residents. This change to their way of working will also enable officers quickly to identify, and get an early understanding of, local issues and direct people towards the most suitable agency for the best help.

The local Community Officers with responsibility for the Halstead area, which includes The Maplesteads, are:

PC 3655 Craig Wheeler :        e-mail Craig.Wheeler@essex.pnn.police.uk

PC 2613 Andy Pilgrim :          e-mail Andy.Pilgrim@essex.pnn.police.uk

PC 2457 Paul Norman :          e-mail Paul.Norman@essex.pnn.police.uk

PCSO 70714 John Thorne :    e-mail John.Thorne@essex.pnn.police.uk

PCSO 70955 Joanne Cooper : e-mail Joanne.Cooper@essex.pnn.police.uk

These officers will be the initial points of contact for any community concerns.

The CPT’s e-mail address – BraintreeandUttlesfordCPT@essex.pnn.police.uk – is monitored daily and residents with any questions or concerns can also use it to contact Inspector Cox or members of his team.

And remember: only call 999 for emergencies; for any non-urgent enquiries call 101 

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Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust Planned Merger

Plans are being discussed to merge Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust (MEHT), which includes Broomfield, Braintree Community hospital and St Peter’s in Maldon, with the hospital trusts in Basildon and Southend.

As these plans continue to be firmed up, there is a need to prepare to elect Governors from the Mid-Essex region for what will become the new merged trust; these people will help to ensure that the needs and interests of those living in the area currently covered by MEHT are given due weight.

Governors will be elected by and from those who are registered as members of the MEHT, so the imperative is to maximise membership numbers as quickly as possible. Details about becoming a member of the Trust can be found here and anyone who is interested should also be able to apply to join from the same page – if there are problems, a request can be e-mailed to ft@meht.nhs.net.

All local residents, since they have a direct stake in these planned changes, are eligible to sign up as members. There is no cost and no obligation in doing so, but only MEHT members will be able to vote when the election for Governors takes place.

Nick Alston, Chairman of MEHT, is keen to encourage all residents not only to sign up as members but also, when the time comes – in the early autumn – to consider standing as a Governor of the new merged Trust. More information about a Governor’s role can be found here.

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Data Protection – Making Sure Your Information is Safe 

With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into law in May 2018, Little Maplestead Parish Council – as a publically-accountable body which has access to, and makes use of, your personal data – must now seek positive consents for how it uses new data in order to keep in touch.

If you have previously consented to receive information about the Council's activities, regular Meeting Agendas, Minutes and, exceptionally, any urgent community information, the Council is permitted to continue to send you such information because there is a ‘legitimate interest’ in you continuing to receive it. You may, of course, opt out of receiving any information by advising the Clerk of your change of consent.

Each Parishioner who has not already consented to receiving information from the Council will need to complete, sign and return a new Data Protection Consent Form, which can be downloaded here, in order to provide the necessary consents required by the GDPR. Completed forms can either be returned to the Clerk electronically or in hard copy form, or you can e-mail your acceptance of the consent terms to the Clerk.

Full details of how the Council must in future protect and be responsible for any personal data it holds, as well as your improved rights with regard to how they are used, is contained in the Council’s Privacy Notice, which can be read here.

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Have Your Say in how Your Community is Policed

Essex Police are looking for people to join Independent Advisory Groups that will review police work practices, offer advice and guidance and provide constructive feedback about police policy developments and recruitment.

Two consultation meetings are planned for April at Braintree District Council Offices: on Friday 20th from 10.00 - 11.00am & on Monday 30th from 7.00 - 8.00pm. More information about the reasons for these consultation meetings can be found here.

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Changes to Essex Library Services

As a result of the Public Consultation carried out by Essex County Council at the end of 2017, Library Services across the County are now being rationalised.

This unfortunately means that, as of the 2nd April 2018, the Mobile Library is no longer serving Little Maplestead, since the average number of customers during its fortnightly visits was latterly fewer than one...

Further details of the Library Service changes can be found here.

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DaRT F315 Bus Service - Timetable Changes

Following customer feedback, effective from the 12th February 2018 are a couple of timetable changes to the F315 bus service between Halstead and Sudbury.

The first bus from Halstead now leaves at 7.30am to enable customers to link more comfortably with Sudbury trains to London, while the last bus leaves Sudbury a quarter of an hour earlier, at 7.15pm, in order to reduce waiting time on the bus.

Full details of the service and the revised timetable can be found here.

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Essex Energy Switch

Essex County Council is continuing its backing for a collective energy switching scheme forEnergy Switch residents and small businesses who want to economise by cutting their gas and electricity bills.

Essex Energy Switch is a completely free, easy, safe and secure way to cut your energy bills without the frustration of having to spend time comparing prices and tariffs on various energy comparison websites.

Visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch to find out more information about Essex Energy Switch, how it works and how you can benefit.

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Illegal Pedlar Activity

Essex Police and Neighbourhood Watch are warning residents about reports of illegal door-to-door salesmen targetting towns across the county. More information about these pedlars is contained here. Anyone suspecting that this activity is happing in their locality is being encouraged to report it to the police by calling 101.

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CGRCommunity Governance Review

Braintree District Council was required to review the overall governance of all Town and Parish Councils within the District.

The review focused on:

  • The appropriateness of present Town/Parish boundaries
  • The numbers of Town/Parish Councillors
  • Town/Parish Council names and any warding agreements

The consultation has now closed, but you can find out more about the review and view comments at www.braintree.gov.uk/cgr.

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Braintree's 'Tell Me More' Initiative

Tell Me MoreResidents and businesses in Braintree District can now sign up and subscribe to a new e-mail update service on various topics of their choice, ranging from refuse recycling and street cleaning to planning news, health and well-being tips, events, job vacancies or emergency alerts.

There will also be an e-mail newsletter especially for businesses in the district.

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Stansted Airport Development Consultation

In advance of submitting a planning application to raise its current passenger numbers cap, Stansted Airport carried out a series of eight Community Consultation Exhibitions between 6th – 19th July 2017. Feedback from these will inform its proposals for future increases in runway use and the effect of this on the wider region.

An initial study of how the future development of Stansted would affect the wider region was laid out in Stansted’s 2015 Sustainable Development Plan, the final version of which can be viewed at www.stanstedairport.com.

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Local Plan Consultation

The latest Draft of the Local Plan Document for North Essex was issued on 16th June 2017. The Public Consultation has now closed, with comments and feedback informing the next stage of the process.

The two-part document can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

  • Section 1 – Strategic Plan for North Essex, including the proposed Garden Communities
  • Section 2 – Policies, maps and sites for development, housing, employment and regeneration within Braintree District

More information, together with downloadable versions of the Local Plan and its appendices, is at: https://www.braintree.gov.uk/publicationdraftlp

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