Waltham Abbey Murder — Update
Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate are investigating the shooting of a man in Waltham Abbey as a targeted attack. The man, who is believed to be aged in his 30s, was shot at in the car park of the Marriott Hotel in Old Shire Lane at around 9.45am yesterday, Tuesday, December 8.
DCI Marina Ericson, leading the murder enquiry, said: “This appears to be a targeted attack and the motive was directed towards the victim. The assailant appears to have been waiting for the victim in the car park at the Marriott Hotel. The victim was shot at and a chase ensued on foot during which the victim flagged down a vehicle belonging to a member of the public before being driven to the Volunteer Pub. The suspect got back in to a dark coloured car being driven by an accomplice which made off.”
Forensic and search examinations are continuing and crime scene investigators have been working with a ballistics expert. The Marriott and the Volunteer Pub have returned to normal business today. The slip roads at junction 26 of the M25 will reopen shortly. The only road closure that will remain will be Honey Lane where it runs under the motorway between two roundabouts. There should be no repetition of the extensive delays experienced by motorists yesterday.
A post-mortem examination on the victim’s body is taking place today. Family liaison officers have been in contact with his family and are supporting them at this difficult time.
Any witnesses in the area of the Marriot in Old Shire Lane at around 9.45am who have not already contacted police are asked to call 101 and speak to detectives or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 11
Another Scam Alert
The police are alerting us to yet another scam. They quote a message received from a member of our community –
“Just wanted to notify you that my 91 year old mother with Alzheimer’s who lives in Chelmsford has today (08.12.15) received a letter informing her that she has won the Euromillions International Postcode lottery. She wisely contacted my sister who told her it was a scam, and she has torn up the letter. When I phoned her, she told me about this and said she had also just had a phone call about it, and again she wisely put the phone down. I want you to know in case it happens to other vulnerable old people in the area. Please publicise that this is happening again. I saw on your website that this also happened previously.”
It would be fair to say these are very difficult incidents to investigate, however the National Action Fraud team at http://www.actionfraud.police.
If you would like to receive up to date, locally relevant information direct from the police, information that is relevant to you and the area you live, then sign up to Essex Community Messaging via [email protected] or ask any Police Officer or PCSO for details.
Witnesses to Laindon Burglary
Police are appealing for witnesses to an aggravated burglary in Laindon.
Two suspects forced their way through the back door of an address in Cathedral Drive sometime between 5.45pm and 6pm on Tuesday, November 24.
One was armed with a machete and had a silver mask on his face. They threatened and assaulted a 37-year-old man inside.
However they left when it became apparent that the police had been called.
Officers attended and carried out an extensive search, but there was no trace of the suspects. Enquiries are ongoing.
Temporary Dc Clive Hammond, of Basildon CID, said: “The suspects got into a black or dark coloured people carrier-type vehicle with a silver side panel, which was parked in Spire Road.
“It may have been a Vauxhall Zafira and was seen driving into St Nicholas Lane. There would have been at least three people in the vehicle. I am keen to hear from anyone who saw this car, witnessed the incident or saw these men before or after they entered the property.”
One of the suspects was about 6ft. tall, of stocky build, and wore a dark hooded top with ‘Adidas’ written on the front. The second man was 5ft 4ins tall, of skinny build, and wore dark clothing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact T/Dc Hammond on 101.
Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Police Station Closures
Essex Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Nick Alston, have confirmed proposals to close fifteen police station front counters as the force develops a modern fit for purpose police estate to meet the challenges of keeping the county safe.
The force has also concluded consultation with staff and informed them of the outcomes of the process which will see 98 Customer Contact Administrator posts reduce to 36.
The Essex Police front counters which will remain open to the public from 9am to 5pm are: Grays, Basildon, Southend, Harlow, Chelmsford, Braintree, Colchester and Clacton (all Monday to Sunday) Maldon, Saffron Walden (both Monday to Friday). These front counters represent 80% of all visits to Essex Police stations during a two-month long piece of research.
Operational policing bases, without front counters, will be kept in: Loughton, Brentwood, Canvey Island, Great Dunmow, Rayleigh and Harwich. The front counters scheduled for closure will be closed by April 2016.
One consequence of reducing the number of front counters is that fewer police staff posts will be needed. Formal consultation has concluded with Unison over proposals to reduce Contact Customer Administrator posts from 98 to 36; staff who will be retained in post, deployed to other roles or who will be given notice of redundancy have been informed.
The force and Mr Alston have also reaffirmed their commitment to improved public contact, with new online crime and lost property reporting on a new force website set to begin in spring 2016 and work to investigate new ways of delivering face-to-face contact with police underway.
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “I want to pay tribute to the commitment and professionalism of Customer Contact Administrators before throughout and since the consultation process, and thank those who may be leaving the organisation over the next few months for their service to Essex Police and the public in our county.
“The financial outlook might be slightly brighter than we thought in the autumn, but Essex Police still needs to change. We spend too much on too many police buildings, many of which are either no longer fit for policing or are hardly used by the public to report crime. Police officers, not buildings, fight crime and the confirmation today of proposals the PCC and I made in October provide for a police estate fit for the future ready to cope with changes in crime and technology.
“I understand the views of people we’ve spoken to in the last few months who are worried that losing their police station will make them feel less safe, but the reality is the opposite is true: every expensive and outdated building which isn’t well-used by the public we keep open means fewer officers on patrol stopping crime and helping vulnerable people.”
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I have met and spoken with many Customer Contact Administrators, and their professionalism has always shone through.
“It is clear though that the Essex Police property estate is currently haemorrhaging millions of pounds of public money every year which should be spent on preventing and solving crime. We have too many old and often poorly maintained buildings which are no longer fit for a modern police service.
“Extensive work is currently underway to ensure that the people of Essex will be able to contact their police force in more modern ways, whilst still preserving the option of telephone and face-to-face contact for those who prefer it.
“It is always sad when dedicated colleagues face the risk of redundancy, but with Essex Police significantly reducing the number of police station front counters, a reduction in the number of Customer Contact Administrator posts was, regrettably, the inevitable result.
“I welcome Essex Police’s decision to pause until early in 2016 the proposal to reduce the numbers of PCSOs, in light of the need to consider further information about the budget which will be provided by the government later this month.
“The drive to ensure Essex Police is fit not only for today, but for the future, will continue.
“Essex Police must continue to adapt and respond to the changing nature of crime – be it terrorist threats, cybercrime and online grooming, or serious violence perpetrated by organised criminal gangs and, most sadly, in the context of domestic abuse. Equally, Essex Police must remain closely connected with the people of our county and involved in working with partner agencies in solving local problems.”
Essex Police Mental Health Pledge
Essex Police has become the latest emergency service to sign the mental health charity Mind’s ‘Blue Light Time to Change Pledge’. It commits the force to challenging mental health stigma and looking after officers, civilian staff, teams and members of the public.
Created by the national mental health charity Mind, the pledge is designed to encourage emergency service employers and volunteer groups to improve mental health awareness within their organisations. It is hoped raising awareness will create a working environment where staff feel able to speak openly about any issues and seek support when they need it as well as being able to look out for colleagues and members of the public.
The pledge is a commitment to a programme of activity around increasing awareness and support and was signed by the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Commissioner and officers and staff from across Essex Police at a ceremony at force headquarters today.
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “People who work in the emergency services are ordinary people asked every day to do extraordinary jobs. We wouldn’t be human if that didn’t test us mentally as well as physically but while we will always experience trauma and stress on the job, what we can change is how we support each other in dealing with and recovering from it.
“I’m proud that Essex Police has signed the pledge, but what’s more important is that when we put mental health and wellbeing at the heart of what we do, we become a healthier force better able not only to keep Essex safe but to protect vulnerable people here.”
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Our police officers, staff and volunteers do a tough job and deal with very difficult and challenging events every single day.
“It’s important that we recognise those challenges and create an environment where people feel able to speak freely about them and get all the support they need.
“Raising awareness of mental health within the workplace will also equip police officers and staff with the skills and understanding they need in dealing with those members of the public they may encounter in distress.”
Essex Police joins the wide movement of emergency service employers and associations that have pledged to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination, including Derbyshire Fire & Rescue, Kent Fire and Rescue Kent Police, Leicestershire Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Not only are many of our blue light personnel struggling with their mental health, but they’re less likely to seek support or have time off sick than the general workforce. Good mental health should be a priority in any workplace but it is especially important that people exposed to traumatic of life-threatening situations – such as those working within the police, ambulance, fire and search and rescue services – receive appropriate support. By signing the Blue Light Time to Change pledge Essex Police is helping to fight stigma and promote positive mental health in emergency services.”
A 35-year-old man from the town was in the Bellini Bar in London Road at 12.35am on Saturday, October 10 when he was approached from behind and punched. He suffered black eyes, a swollen nose, cuts and a bruised cheekbone.
A 24-year-old man from Rayleigh voluntarily attended a police station for interview yesterday, Tuesday December 8. He was reported for assault causing actual bodily harm.
Robbery at Tesco Express, South Ockendon
Four men have been arrested following a robbery at the Tesco Express in Derry Avenue, South Ockendon, which happened just before 6.50am on Saturday, December 5.
A man jumped over the checkout counter armed with a knife and removed a large quantity of cigarettes. Those arrested have been released on police bail pending further enquiries until February 24 and 25. They have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and also of burglary in connection with the theft of cigarettes from the same store on December 3.
Dc Nicola Hadfield, investigating officer, is appealing for witnesses in connection with both incidents, in particular a woman who was in the Tesco store with her daughter and another man who may have seen the robbery on December 5. She also wants to trace a man who saw the burglary in progress on December 3 at 7.10am.
These people, or anyone else with information is asked to contact Dc Hadfield at Grays CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Two women aged 36 and 44 heard a noise in the garden of a neighbour’s house at 7.45pm on Monday, November 16. They saw two men acting suspiciously and challenged them.
One of the men punched the younger woman in the face as she called police on her mobile phone. She suffered a swollen nose.
The second man threatened the other woman.
Both suspects then ran off into Triton Way and then Bracken Way. Police have issued an efit of the second man. He was described as white, aged in his late 20s to early 30s, of medium build and 6ft to 6ft 1ins tall.
He had short, mousey brown hair with a spiked fringe and wore dark clothing. The second man was tanned, aged in his late 20s to early 30s, of medium build and 5ft 6ins to 5ft 7ins tall. He wore dark clothes and a hooded top.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pc Giorgi Loughran at Rayleigh CID on 101. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Operation Alliance: Results
Ten vehicles were seized and a man arrested during a major road policing operation in Thurrock on Thursday, December 3, 2015. Officers from across East Anglia worked together to identify offenders travelling into Essex on the M25 and A13 using automatic number plate recognition technology.
Road policing officers from Norfolk and Suffolk joined colleagues from Essex Police on motorbikes and in covert cars to identify vehicles of interest and take them to the Moto Services in West Thurrock for further checks.
A 29-year-old man from Southend was arrested on suspicion of harassment at 11.20am. Lloyd Slade was later charged and released on bail to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on January 6, 2016.
A male driver found to be driving while disqualified was dealt with and a total of 97 vehicles were stopped and checked during the operation. Ten vehicles were seized because their drivers were uninsured and a further nine also found to be uninsured were given the opportunity to arrange insurance at the roadside.
Two drivers were found to be driving otherwise than in accordance with the terms of their licence, three were found to be using a mobile phone while driving and five were stopped for not wearing a seatbelt.
A total of 23 vehicles were found not to have valid MOTs and two were found to have illegal tints on the windows which had to be removed before the drivers were allowed to continue their journeys.
Vehicle examiners from VOSA, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency were involved in checking poorly maintained vehicles and officers from HM Revenue and Customs checked vehicles for illegal fuels. One vehicle was found to be illegally running on red diesel and another was stopped for carrying an insecure load.
Operation Sledge Launched
A new operation to crack down on burglary by reducing the sale of stolen goods has been launched in Southend, Rochford, Castle Point, Basildon and Thurrock by making it difficult for burglars to sell on stolen items.
Officers will be circulating information of recently stolen items to secondhand dealers and encouraging them to notify police should they be offered them for sale and making them aware of burglars known to be operating in the area.
As part of Operation Sledge, officers are appealing for members of the public to do their bit to help reduce burglary by reporting suspicious behaviour and making sure their homes are secure.
Pc Kearney said: “We’re asking residents to take steps to make it more difficult for burglars. Secure your garden, lock uPVC doors properly, shut and lock windows, don’t leave your car keys near to the front door, use timers on lights if you plan to be out once it gets dark and don’t tempt opportunist thieves by leaving high value items clearly on display.
“Please report suspicious behaviour to us. We have received reports of suspected burglars knocking on doors to see if residents are home. If someone answers they may ask for directions or a fictitious person before moving on to another home. If this happens to you, please report it to us.”
Taxi drivers are also being asked to report suspicious fares and residents are being encouraged to photograph valuables and list the serial numbers of valuable possessions. Keeping a list like this can help police return items to victims should they be stolen.
“Burglars like to sell on stolen goods quickly to reduce the risk of being caught in possession of them,” said Pc Kearney.
“As a result they’re more likely to operate in areas where they know they can easily exchange stolen items for cash. As well as targeting the burglars themselves we’ll be focussing on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the people knowingly creating the demand for stolen property.
“If you know of someone buying or selling stolen goods, please tell us or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Finally, if someone is offering something for sale at a price that seems too good to be true then it probably is. The items may well be stolen and at this time of year should probably have been under someone’s Christmas tree. If you suspect it, report it and we will take action.”
More home security advice can be found on the Essex Police website at www.essex.police.uk/burglary
Advice about how to create a private and secure inventory of personal property can be found on the website at www.essex.police.uk/yourproperty