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HUNDREDS of police officers are returning to neighbourhood teams this week as part of a major restructure of Essex Police.

The force is moving 500 officers out of emergency response teams and back into communities.

The change, which begins today, brings an end to the failed Essex Police blueprint which was designed to save money through an Essex wide rather than district approach to policing..

As part of the restructure 60 posts have been cut, from firearms, road policing and public order teams.

The ten district teams will be responsible for both responding to emergencies and investigating crime.

There will also be a renewed focus on community issues such as anti-social behaviour, safeguarding repeat and vulnerable victims and tackling drug and alcohol misuse.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: "Local policing is at the very heart of how I believe the public want policing delivered in the county. The changes we are making demonstrate our commitment to local policing.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said: “At the heart of the police and crime plan for Essex is the concept of local solutions for local problems, and I know Chief Constable Kavanagh remains committed to this approach.

“Returning officers to local supervision ensures ongoing ownership of crime and ASB incidents by local officers.”

New domestic abuse investigation teams have also been formed.

The ten policing areas are Braintree and Uttlesford, Chelmsford and Maldon, Colchester, Tendring, Basildon, Southend, Castle Point and Rochford, Thurrock, Harlow and Brentwood and Epping.

The new domestic abuse units will be based in Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Clacton, Harlow, Grays, Southend and Basildon.