FRESH initiatives are set to be introduced into the borough to try to stamp out low-level crime before they escalate into larger issues.

Colchester’s new District Commander Chief Insp Shaun Kane told Colchester Council’s crime and disorder committee he had been scouring the rest of Essex and the country to find schemes which could help.

The first concept set to be brought in by Mr Kane is a plan called Street Weeks where community policing teams spend seven consecutive days in a certain ward or road.

He said: “It will be about listening to anti-social behaviour concerns and putting the community safety family in a particular street or ward for one week.

“It is proven to have a real impact in helping real-life issues for residents.

“They can help prevent low-level theft, anti-social behaviour and gang concerns and lead to a sense of community empowerment.”

Mr Kane said the police needed support from residents and admitted their focus had to be on the more serious crimes. However, he promised all crimes would be taken seriously.

He said: “The police cannot be everything to everybody anymore – we have to focus on violence and protecting people from harm.

“In an ideal world we would have a police officer on every corner but we are not in that position but if you call 999 you will get help.

“Good old fashioned neighbourly support will help make it difficult for people to prosper hate.

“I want to put people at the heart of everything we do and I am passionate about providing the best service we can.”

Specialist officers from the Safer Colchester Partnership have also been working on a programme to try to reduce gang activity across the borough.

Mr Kane said he was also keen to tackle anti-social behaviour and use his experience to help residents.

He said: “My priorities are to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, increase public confidence make the best use of the resources available and protect people from harm.

“There was an increase of 107 incidents of anti-social behaviour in Colchester in the last year which equates to two per cent.

“I always question whether that is a true reflection or if people are simply not reporting things to us.

“I would always encourage people to report things to us – it could be the missing link in a larger investigation.

“Previously to this role I have worked as district commander for Basildon which is similar to Colchester in terms of demographic and geography – they have a similar growing population.

“I aim to bring my full wealth of experience to tackling these issues and reduce the fear of crime which can sometimes be taken out of context.

“I want to build on the great work done for Colchester’s night time economy and want to make it a welcoming, safe place to visit.”

Mr Kane was appointed to the role - which makes him the most senior police officer in Colchester - in June after predecessor Elliott Judge moved on after 16 months at the helm.

He insisted he plans to head up the team in the borough for the long haul.

He said: “I am absolutely committed and happy to be at Colchester and want to stay as district commander as long as possible.

“Stability is so important - the public need stability in their police force.”

'We will be there when you need us'

A DISABLED woman raised concerns about the level of care given to vulnerable people in Colchester.

Jaki Whyte, who lives in Monkwick, had her wheelchair stolen from outside her home but was told by police there were no available units to attend.

She said she wanted to tell the panel about being a victim of crime.

She said: “Last week my wheelchair was taken from outside my house and the police had no-one to send and the only interaction I got was a letter.

“My 15-year-old son had to go looking around the estate for it and when he found it, the chair had been damaged.

“It is a rental so I will have to pay the full cost of it and I have no income.

“Is it not the job of the police to investigate thefts?

“It does not give me or my friends much hope Essex Police are able to take care of vulnerable people – it is not a good impression to give.”

Colchester District Commander Chief Insp Shaun Kane said: “Every contact and call which is made is taken seriously.

“Making contact really does count and when people need our help they really will get it when the need it.”