FOUR extra police officers are set to start patrolling Colchester town centre.

The new additions will allow Colchester’s Town Proactive Team to create an extra shift, meaning that officers will be more visible and more widely available to investigate community issues.

It brings the total number of officers on the Town Proactive Team to 13, now made up of seven constables, five PCSOs and a sergeant.

The team will focus on issues that impact the community the most, focusing on the night time economy, the reduction of violent crime, drugs offences and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

Sergeant Martin Willsher said: “This is a great opportunity for the Proactive Team to expand the work we’ve been doing since our inception last year.

“The officers joining the team were all based at Colchester previously, so will bring great local knowledge to add to that of our existing officers.

“Our strong partnership working will continue so that we can continue to identify the issues within the town centre and assist in supporting the outstanding work of some of the groups in our community, including Colbac, Pubwatch, support workers for the homeless, Community 360 and the Safer Colchester Partnership Group.”

Insp Jonathan Evans, of Colchester’s Community Policing Team, added: “This is a great opportunity to add even more visible officers to our town centre, where we’re already doing a lot of positive work.

"We’ll continue to collaborate with our partners to make the area a safer place for the local community, whether that’s residents, businesses or tourists.”

Mike Lilley, Colchester Council's public safety boss (Lab) said: “I’m very pleased to welcome the new members of the Town Proactive Team.

"This investment will enable us to step up and deal with crime and anti-social behaviour in our town.

“Through this strong partnership with Essex Police and other partners, we want to create a better Colchester that promises a safer and crime-free town centre that people can enjoy.”

Essex Police’s investment in more policing in town centres will place officers in 23 locations across the county.

As part of the force’s dedication to visible, frontline officers, the 58 constables will tackle the most prominent issues in local communities, making for a safer county and stronger relationships with the public.

The Town Centre Team constables will be assigned to Braintree, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Harwich, Maldon, Saffron Walden, South Woodham Ferrers and Witham in the north of Essex.

In the south of the county, officers will be servicing Basildon, Billericay, Canvey, Rayleigh, Rochford, Southend and Wickford.

Finally, the teams in the west will be based in: Brentwood, Grays, Harlow, Loughton, South Ockendon, Stanford-le-Hope and Waltham Abbey.