The Chelmsford district will have six extra officers dedicated to town centres from today.

The officers include four constables deployed to Chelmsford and two to South Woodham Ferrers, and will be dedicated to tackling key issues within the town and city centre.

The officers, who will be led by one sergeant, will work as a dedicated team within the already-established community policing team, but will operate under the banner of "Town Centre Teams" (TCT). Having previously been part of response teams in the area, their local knowledge and varied skill sets means that they will be able to hit the ground running.

They will focus on being visible in the places they police, and will work closely with the CPT to get to the heart of issues within communities, such as antisocial behaviour, gangs and drug crime.

Vulnerability will also be at the heart of what the team do as they look to work with partners to safeguard the homeless and exploited within Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers.

The TCTs will continue to make key connections with the partners, businesses, charities and community groups that represent the people of the town centres they’re serving. A particular focus of the Chelmsford team will be supporting the night time economy of clubs, pubs, and bars in the city, ensuring all venues stick to the terms of their licences and expanding upon the hard work of their award-winning Pubwatch team.

Inspector Steve Scott-Haynes of the Chelmsford and Maldon Community Policing Team said: “It’s a really exciting time for policing across the district. We know you wanted more visible officers to tackle the problems that are closer to home and, with the Town Centre Teams, you’ll get just that.

“In Chelmsford we’ll be looking at tackling the big issues that can have a real impact on locals and businesses, such as anti-social behaviour in the city centre, and the drug dealing that often goes along with it, particularly in areas like Moulsham.

“Our presence in South Woodham means that we can really engage with the tight-knit community in the town and tackle the drugs issue that we’re seeing across the district. We really want you to get to know the officers in your area and feel comfortable approaching them with problems you might be having, or reporting crimes that may be happening on your doorstep.

“Our officers will continue to work with the partners who do great work alongside us from the Community Safety Partnership, and I know the team look forward to meeting new faces like independent business owners, community leaders and local charities to see how we can work together to make our communities safer for, and more inclusive to, everyone.”

Jude Deakin, Chelmsford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Chelmsford, said, “We’re delighted to welcome the new police officers to the team. It’s so important that residents and businesses have the support they need from the police in the city centre. These increased numbers will ensure these vital people in our community are now more visible, making Chelmsford safer for everyone.”

South Woodham Ferrers Town Mayor, Councillor Alan Shearring, said: “On behalf of the residents of this town we welcome this announcement, as for a number of years it has been the wish to once again have a visible police presence in our town.

“We wish the new team every success.”

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 TCT 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.