CRIME rates are rising in Essex while fewer criminals are being caught and convicted.

The figures have been revealed in a report out today on the effectiveness of Essex Police which has been produced by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

They show recorded crime rose by 12.9 per cent compared to a national average of 7.8 per cent.

Over the past five years, recorded crime in the county has risen 10.9 per cent compared to a fall of 3.4 per cent nationally.

At the same time, the number of officers has fallen from about 3,600 to about 2,800.

In more than 90 per cent of recorded crimes in Essex, no-one was charged.

However, the chance of being a victim of crime in Essex is still lower than the national average, the figures show.

Despite the worrying statistics, the force was said to be improving and was rated “good” overall for 2016 compared to “requires improvement” the previous year.

The report stated: “Essex Police has a good understanding of the risks and threats posed to its communities. The understanding is supported by the force’s dedicated local policing model.”

The report revealed the force spends about £39 on neighbourhood policing per head of population compared to a national average of £25.

It states: “Essex Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

“Our overall judgment is an improvement on last year, when we judged the force to require improvement.

“The force has an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime.

“The force has greatly improved the way it protects vulnerable people, including victims of domestic abuse, but still needs to do more in this area.”

The report highlights vulnerable children as a group the force still struggles to protect partly due to the growing number of paedophiles being caught and more child sexual exploitation.

Essex Police also received praise for making sure “the right teams with the correct level of skills and experience are investigating the right crimes”.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “This report is good news for the people of Essex. From tackling anti-social behaviour to taking down organised crime Essex Police is judged to be doing a good job at keeping people safe.

“The report shows Essex to be one of the most improved forces in the country.”

HMIC Inspector Zoë Billingham has praised Essex Police.

She said: “I am very pleased Essex Police has made substantial improvements in how effectively it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

“Since our last inspection in 2015, we found improvements across all areas, including in how the force supports people who are vulnerable.

“There are still some areas that I would like to see the force improve upon, but overall it’s very encouraging progress.”

The force has progressed from requiring improvement to a rating of good.

She said: “The force has taken on board our recommendations on how it should improve its crime prevention work and it is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour to prevent it from escalating.

“I am pleased Essex Police has also improved how it investigates crime, with officers who arrive on scene first generally doing a good job in collecting evidence during the golden hour.

“I would like to see the force do more to reduce even further the delays.”
Mrs Billingham added that work with vulnerable children still needs to improve.

She added: “The force needs to do more to improve how it manages risks posed by registered sex offenders living in its area.

“The force acknowledges that its work in this vitally important area of policing has further to go.”