CRIME in Colchester town centre has fallen to its lowest levels in three years.

The numer of incidents fell below 300 in November last year – the latest figures available – for the first time since monthly records were published in 2010.

Police are crediting an initiative which saw officers follow prolific offenders for the drop.

Chief Insp Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, said: “It is excellent to see the improvement.

“This has been achieved by some good work by the Safer Colchester Partnership and an uplift in police visibility.

“Operation Christmas Cracker was launched on November 11 and officers provided a significant presence in the town and built excellent relationships with the business community.

“This has enabled increased efficiency in identification and tracking of offenders in the town to prevent crimes occurring.

“I initially had a dedicated police officer presence in the town in August last year and, with these excellent results, that will continue in the new year.”

Mr Phillibrown hopes the trend will continue, but admitted December is always an exceptionally busy month.

Figures for every recorded crime fell from October to November, with a particularly sharp dip in violent crime.

The total dropped from 429 to 289.

Tim Young, Colchester councilor responsible for community safety, said: “It is very pleasing but we have got to be careful.

These are just figures for one month.

“It is evidence of the excellent partnership working between the local authoirty and police.

“We are all having to work smarter given the cutbacks.”