A new crack team of police staff has been deployed for the first time to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in Colchester town centre.

Officially launched on Monday, the Town Centre Team is made up of Special Constables, Police Community Support Officers and a Police Constable.

Dubbed Team Ten, the officers have been paid for thanks to £300,000 investment by Colchester Council as part of its Better Colchester campaigner - A £2 million strategic programme aimed at making the town a better place to live, work and visit.

READ MORE: £2 million to be spent improving Colchester town centre

The cash has been match-funded by Essex Police and the new team features some existing members of Colchester's Community Policing Team.

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for planning, public safety and licensing, said: "I’m very pleased to welcome the new members of Team Ten on board.

"This strong partnership will equip us with the skills and resources to call time on street drinking, anti-social behaviour, aggressive begging and drug use in the town centre to ensure the town is a safe, welcoming and attractive town for everyone.”

Experienced Sergeant Nathan Suley will lead the group of four Special Constables and four PCSOs.

An anti-social behaviour officer from Colchester Borough Homes will also join Team Ten early next year and in addition to the group another PCSO has been recruited to work in rural communities.

Working with Colchester's Zone Wardens, Licensing Officers and Anti-Social Behaviour Officers, Team Ten will focus their patrols on hot spot areas in the town and services for victims and vulnerable residents will be a priority.

Chief Inspector Shaun Kane, District Commander for Colchester, said: "Earlier this year I made a pledge that residents will see the difference these new officers and PCSOs will make on top of the work we’re already doing on issues like street drinking, aggressive begging and disorder in the town centre.

“So, I’m thrilled to have appointed our Team Ten members, who will be out on the beat and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, helping to keep the town centre even safer.

“They will complement our growing Community Safety family, and I look forward to developing plans to formalise a Rural Policing Team for Colchester borough in 2019, building further on our partnership work.”

Visit www.safercolchester.co.uk.