FOUR extra police officers are now on duty in Braintree and Witham town centres.

The Town Centre Teams will have two constables deployed to both Braintree and to Witham, and will be dedicated to tackling key issues within the town centre.

Their visible presence in the town centres will see them work closely with partners, businesses, charities and community groups.

They will conduct visible patrols and aim to give every part of the local community a voice.

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

Sergeant Jenna Mirrington-French, of Braintree and Witham’s Town Centre Teams, said: “We’re raring to go and really make a difference in Braintree and Witham.

“Building on the brilliant local relationships that our Community Policing Team have already cultivated, and making new connections, we’ll be able to get to the heart of what’s troubling the community and how we can help.

“We heard you when you said you wanted more visible policing so that’s where we’ll be. "Our work will look to protect the vulnerable in our society and ensure our town centre represents the best parts of the district – its welcoming feel, entrepreneurship and its inclusivity.

“We’ve received a lot of public feedback about Manor Street in Braintree in particular and how dangerous it can be, so we’ll aim to enforce the one-way system when we see that the law isn’t being abided by, to continue to keep that part of the town centre safe for everyone.”

District Commander for Braintree and Uttlesford, Chief Insp Janette Rawlingson, added: “These are two local officers who have worked in the area for a considerable amount of time, and I don’t doubt that they’ll be able to work alongside our existing Community Policing Team to deliver what’s best for Braintree and Witham.

“Their work will see them continuing to engage with local councils, Chambers of Commerce, Braintree Town Partnership, the George Yard Shopping Centre in Braintree, Witham Industrial Watch and other neighbourhood associations and community groups, so that we can really understand the issues that matter to our locals.”

Braintree Council public safety boss Wendy Schmitt said: “Braintree district is a safe area in a safe county but we welcome the extra police presence and the increased confidence it will bring to shoppers, traders and visitors.

“More officers keeping our streets safe from crime and free of anti-social behaviour is great to see and we will continue to work closely with Essex Police across the district on both visible and hidden harms as part of our community safety partnership.”

Michael Lager, leader of Witham Town Council said: “We welcome this extra resource to make Witham an even safer and better place. They will provide needed reassurance to young and old by being seen out and about alongside our local Special Constables.

“We expect them to focus on anti-social behaviour, burglaries and theft, obstruction caused by inconsiderate parking, people jumping traffic lights and other unsafe driving, things that our police haven’t had the resource to deal with fully. The message to residents and visitors is “you need to respect others and stay within the law.”

Essex Police’s investment in more policing in town centres will place officers in 23 locations across the county to deal with the issues on your doorstep.

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.