Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “On the 29th January 2018 I attended a public meeting in Aveley hosted by Roger Hirst, (Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner) and senior Police and Fire Service representatives.
“I expressed my concerns that budget cuts had forced the police to almost entirety withdraw from public spaces. Rather than proactive prevention, policing in Thurrock had been reduced to simply reacting (and often not even being able to do this) to crimes after they have been committed.
“I suggested that many public spaces within Thurrock were no longer safe for the public to inhabit. I also stated that the only reason that things weren’t worse than they already were was a matter of luck rather than any operational or policy judgment.
“Fast forward just a few months and it appears that this luck is running out. Sadly we must admit that many parts of Thurrock are dangerous places to visit, especially for those more vulnerable to becoming a target. Law an order in Thurrock is hanging by a thread and the police simply aren’t equipped to take back control of our streets. This isn’t sensationalism. We’ve all seen it with our own eyes. I have personally witnessed rival gangs confronting each other with knives drawn in Grays High Street.
“I have an enormous amount of respect for Thurrock’s police. They appear to be in an impossible position. Officers are doing their very best but they simply do not have anywhere close to the resources they need. I am concerned that staffing levels are so inadequate that officers are being placed at genuine risk of harm.
“Thurrock Council, Essex Police and the Police, Fire and Crime Commisioner need to honestly represent the needs and will of the public. They must openly and publicly express to government how the resources available do not allow them to monitor, police and and keep safe many public spaces within the borough. Only then will pressure be placed on government to provide the resources we need. If these resources are not provided in the short term then we risk the complete collapse of law and order in Thurrock.”