Youth Council advice on staying safe

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Residents, Young people, Your community

Epping Forest youth councillors have been working hard during the school holidays producing a personal safety video and a guide on reporting crime to help young people to stay safe.

Have safe are you? Be aware

This video has been produced for schools to raise pupil’s awareness of being safe. Their message includes advice on using public transport, personal safety, looking after belongings and alcohol awareness.

The video was launched at St Mary’s Church in Loughton in July. The Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens, vice-chairman Councillor Brian Rolfe, Essex County Councillor Valerie Metcalfe, and representatives from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service were amongst the guests.

The project was funded by the Youth Opportunity Fund and Epping Forest District Council. The youth councillors worked with the ‘ignite’ youth group at St Mary’s Church, Loughton and the Roding Valley High School.

Youth councillors have also produced a ‘How safe are you?’ booklet, which supports the video, with top tips for young people on how to stay safe. The booklets will be distributed in September to all secondary schools in the Epping Forest district.

How to report a crime’ cardA new number to call 1010 - when its less urgent than 999

Youth councillors have produced a young persons’ guide on ‘How to report a crime’. The wallet-sized card promotes the new national non-emergency number 101.

Having consulted with numerous young people, a majority said they did not know how to report a crime or an incident. David Eyles the Epping Forest cross border officer said that statistics do not show if young people are reporting crimes.

Youth Councillor Scarlet Stock said: “We want to promote the new non emergency number 101 amongst young people as we feel they need to be aware of the resources available to them.”

“We worked alongside the safer communities team who helped to fund the card, giving young people information on how to report a crime. We hope that by reporting a crime, it will help to reduce crime. We also received funding from ‘Think Big’ to enable every young person in the district to receive a copy of the guide.”

The ‘How to report a crime card’ will be distributed to all secondary schools in the district.

Police praised by council leader

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Democracy, Leader, Your community, Your council

The Leader of Epping Forest District Council has expressed support for Essex Police Service and sought to reassure local residents and business people. Councillor Lesley Wagland praised local police after the disturbances in London. She said: All decent people will have watched the scenes of violence and disorder unfolding on our TV screens with shock and abhorrence. Perhaps even worse than the original law-breaking was the copycat violence on subsequent nights.

Councillor Wagland is keen to reassure local residents and business people that everything is in place. So far, it is business as usual and Epping Forest District has remained largely free of the disturbances although the clouds of smoke drifting over London have been clearly visible from the district. Whilst Epping Forest District Council is not an emergency service, its emergency plans are well tested. The council is well prepared to react positively to any request for assistance from the police or other emergency services.

Councillor Wagland said: Essex Police are obviously monitoring the situation in London, neighbouring counties and our own area closely. They appear well prepared to nip potential attacks in the bud. I have received briefings on two small-scale incidents in Buckhurst Hill and Loughton on Monday night. I want to offer my congratulations to our local police for the swift action that left the alleged perpetrators under arrest and further damage averted.

In a statement issued on Tuesday 10 August Derek Benson, Deputy Chief Constable for Essex Police elaborated.

He said: We have seen no violent disorder in Essex akin to what has been happening in larger cities across the country. Where there has been minor disorder, Essex Police has acted quickly to make arrests. On Monday following a burglary in Buckhurst Hill, 13 men were arrested, and following minor damage to a police vehicle in Loughton, two male youths were arrested. In Harlow, four people were arrested for minor damage in the town centre.  We have seen a number of young people gathering in large groups in various places across the county, but Essex Police has taken immediate action by deploying public order officers to disperse such groups. This early intervention has meant we have not seen any large scale disorder.

Councillor Wagland said: I would like to add my whole-hearted support to Essex Police for the work they are doing. If any good is to come of the dreadful scenes played out on the streets of London recently, it is that the decent people in our communities must stand together in total rejection of this mindless criminality and support our police in the difficult and dangerous work they are doing on our behalf.

Residents can assist the police by calling 999 if they witness any incidents taking place or to call the non emergency number 101 or 0300 333 4444 to pass on information or intelligence.

The Essex Police website is updated with the latest information throughout the day and night, and is the best place to look should the situation change.


Tell us what you think about crime

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Crime and safety, Your council

The Council’s Safer Communities Team would like your help. They want your views on your local area. What do you think about your local public services? Do you think CCTV helps prevent crime? What crimes do you feel you experience in your own area?

Epping Forest District Council is working in partnership with the police, probation, fire service, NHS and the county council to identify the concerns of people who live or work in the district about crime and disorder.

Councillor Penny Smith Safer and Greener portfolio holder said: “This is an opportunity for people to have their say about what concerns they have locally in relation to crime and disorder. Our findings will be used to drive the priorities of the Safer Communities Partnership in its activities to target and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.”

All surveys should be completed no later than 30 September 2011.

Residents Voice Safety Concerns at Debate

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Crime and safety, Media, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your home

Community Safety tree image

Gangs and knives, cutbacks, cross border crime, domestic violence, alcohol related anti-social behaviour, young drivers accident rates and community payback.

An audience of local people came along to the Community Safety Question Time Debate to pose challenging questions on these topics to a panel of local experts in an evening of lively debate.

The debate, filmed at Epping Forest college in Loughton, was presented by BBC Radio Essex’s Dave Monk and saw representatives from the Police, NHS, Fire, District and County Councils, and the probation service quizzed by members of the local community on issues that mattered to them.


Introduction by Dave Monk
Introduction by Dave Monk
  0:00:00 / 0:00:00


Watch the debate with direct links to all the questions below:

Watch the Community Safety Question Time Debate

    The expert panellists were:
  • Stuart McMillan, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Divisional Officer for Harlow and Epping Forest;
  • Neeve Bishop, Essex Probation Trust Offender Management Team;
  • Alan Ray, Essex Police District Commander for Epping Forest District;
  • Councillor Penny Smith, Epping Forest District Council Safer and Greener Portfolio Holder;
  • Caroline Skinner, NHS West Essex Senior Health Improvement Specialist;
  • Yvette Wetton, Essex County Council West Area Co-ordinator;
  • John Gilbert, Epping Forest District Council Director of Environment and Street Scene.

Displays showcasing the work of the Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership were on display outside the auditorium. Audience members and college students were asked what the top 3 priorities for the partnership should be.

    The results were:

  1. Anti-social behaviour;
  2. Domestic violence;
  3. Drugs.

The debate was the finale to a two week programme of events called “Safe ‘n’ Sound in Epping Forest” providing help and advice on keeping you safe.

Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your home

This week is Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week and Essex Police has joined with Essex County Council and local domestic abuse forums to stand up and say There’s no excuse for abuse.

To mark Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week a short video has been produced to push home the message that there really is no excuse for abuse.

Information and advice can be found on the Essex Police website.

Domestic abuse police units are always available to help. You can contact the Harlow, Brentwood and Epping local domestic abuse police unit on 01279 625431.

Youth Council launch Internet Safety CD ROM

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your home

Promoting ways in which to use the internet safely is a top priority for the Epping Forest Youth Council.

Following their peer conference event earlier this year, Youth Councillors pledged to raise awareness of issues such as cyber bullying and internet safety, and to publicise helpful advice or resources on the subject to local young people and their families.

Youth Councillor Jekin Patel explained, “The Epping Forest Communities Safety Partnership made us aware of an excellent CD ROM that offers clear, easy advice to parents and young people about how to use the internet safely. Through the Partnership, we managed to secure 500 free copies of the CD ROM which we feel would be of particular benefit to parents with children in Years 5 and 6, although there are good sections on it for young people themselves too.”

Epping Forest Youth Council launch the Know IT All Internet Safety CD ROM

The `Know IT All` CD ROM is a unique interactive guide produced by Childnet International and includes a guide demonstrating how to report any concerns online, along with interactive quizzes and activities.

The Youth Council will be arranging to distribute the CD ROMs via local primary schools in the Epping Forest District. Extra copies are also available on a first come, first served basis.

Council Gets Tough On Low Level Crime

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Small-scale crime and anti-social behaviour will be targeted in a much faster, more visible and effective manner with the introduction of fixed penalty notices (FPN).  From December, Environment and Neighbourhood Officers employed by Epping Forest District Council will begin to offer offenders the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty within 14 days of being issued with a notice, as an alternative to going to court.

Among the offences for which a FPN will be issued are littering, graffiti, fly-posting, noise nuisance, abandoned vehicles and dog fouling.  For some offences, anyone issued with a notice will get a discount if they pay within 10 days.

The new notices will not come into effect just yet.  Up to December, if the offence is serious Environment and Neighbourhood Officers will continue to pursue cases through the court, however, in other cases they will issue a warning.  When the new FPNs become available the Environment & Neighbourhood Officers will start to target some of the offences for which FPNs can be issued, that have previously not been a priority, with littering, dog fouling and fly-posting being on top of the list of targets.

Perpetrators who are offered an opportunity to avoid court action for a relevant offence by paying a FPN will still have the right to elect to go to court for their case to be heard if they feel they have been treated unjustly.

However, anyone found guilty in court will receive a criminal record whereas payment of the fixed penalty notice will represent a complete discharge of the offence with no criminal record and they will avoid any potential additional legal costs if they were to be found guilty in court.

  Epping Forest District Council Environment and Neighbourhood Officers

Councillor Mary Sartin, Environment Portfolio Holder said: The notices are designed to deal with the low grade anti-social behaviour that takes up a disproportionate amount of time and money in prosecuting through the courts compared with the fines imposed.  The new system will be much quicker and more effective.  The use of FPNs for these offences will provide the Environment and Neighbourhood Officers with an extra tool and impetus to deal with a number of offences that have not been a priority in the past.

“Historically a number of offences for which a FPN can be issued have been under-enforced but we all know that we should not litter, let our dogs defecate without clearing up or graffiti on buildings.  Previously warnings may have been issued.  We will be using the FPN process from December as a means of issuing formal warnings with a monetary penalty to avoid court proceedings and a criminal conviction.  These are all offences that can easily be avoided but can cause real problems throughout the district and additional costs to residents to rectify.

“Hopefully the minority of people who make a habit of such behaviour to the great frustration of the law-abiding majority, will soon get the message and clean up their act.

Epping Forest District Council will be publishing full details before the new arrangements go live in December.  Fixed Penalties will be issued by the Council`s uniformed Environment and Neighbourhood Officers.  The Council and Police will still have the ability to take action through the courts if necessary, for example where an alleged offender has a long track record of similar actions.  Officers will never ask for cash or payment in person and will only issue a FPN on return to the office when the details of the offender have been verified.  Notices of intention to prosecute will be issued on site with the presumption that a FPN will be issued or prosecution proceedings instigated.

    The full list of penalties for offences is as follows (discount level in brackets):

  • Litter – £75 / (£50)
  • Abandoned vehicle – £200 / (£120)
  • Nuisance parking – £100 / (£60)
  • Dog fouling – £50 / (No discount)
  • Graffiti & flyposting – £75 / (£50)
  • Street litter control – £100 / (£60)
  • Unauthorised leaflet distribution – £75 / (£50)
  • Failure to produce waste transfer notice – £300 / (£180)
  • Failure to produce waste carriers papers – £300 / (No discount)
  • Waste receptacles – £100 / (£60)
  • Noise – £100 / (£60)
  • Failure to nominate keyholder in designated alarm areas – £75 / (£50)

Police Bring Back ‘Unoccupied House’ Cards

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Residents, Your community, Your home

Are you going on holiday? Are you worried about the thought of leaving your home and possessions unoccupied? Police in Epping Forest have reintroduced a popular scheme to help protect residents’ homes while they are away on holiday. The service is in partnership with Epping Forest Safer Communities who are supporting the police community support officers (PCSOs).

Some older residents may recall a service the police used to offer whereby householders who were going on holiday could call in at their local police stations where they could fill in an ‘Unoccupied House’ card. These cards showed the dates the house was empty and gave contact details of the owner and details of a ‘Good Neighbour’ who could be called on if anything untoward occurred while the owner was away. The cards were passed on to the local officer who regularly visited these houses while they were unoccupied to make sure all was well.

Local residents in the Epping Forest district are now able to call at their local police station (Loughton, Waltham Abbey, Epping or Ongar) before they go away to fill in a ‘Unoccupied House’ card. These cards will be placed in a folder at that police station. Every PCSO, prior to commencing their foot patrols, will check the folder on a regular basis to find out what houses on their beat are unoccupied. During their shift and subject to other work, they will visit as many of these premises as possible to make sure they are secure. If they find anything suspicious or untoward they will then contact the nominated good neighbour or, in more serious circumstances, the owner themselves.

Epping Forest district commander Chief Inspector Alan Ray said: “We are reintroducing this service as an additional initiative to help to protect people’s homes while they are away from them. In the past the ‘Unoccupied House’ scheme has proved effective in reassuring residents that the local police are doing all they can to watch out for their homes while they are on holiday. Everybody has a duty to make sure their house is secure as possible. This initiative is being implemented in support of the effort made by local residents to protect their homes.”

Epping Forest District Council safer communities manager Caroline Wiggins said: “We are delighted to support the re-introduction of this simple but effective scheme. The council is working very hard with Essex Police and all our partners to reduce house burglary throughout the district and this initiative meets that objective fully.”

We would strongly urge any resident who is going on holiday to take the time to call in to their local police station to complete a card.

For further information please contact Epping Forest district crime reduction officer, Tony Ellis on 01279 621888 or by email to

Cabinet Spotlight on Child Protection

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Leader, Meetings, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

The Cabinet meeting that took place on 8 March 2010 saw child protection proposals come under the spotlight as well as discussion on recycling and health.

Watch the webcastView the webcast of the Cabinet Meeting 8 March 2010

District Council seeks reassurance on Child Protection

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Leisure and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder introduced Mr Roger Bullen of Essex County Council to present a report on the Essex Children`s Trust Memorandum of Agreement.

Councillor Mitch Cohen questioned Mr Bullen closely on the purposes of the Memorandum. He explored the levels of independence Epping Forest District Council would retain to control its own policies and procedures in relation to children`s services.
Mr Bullen sought to reassure Councillors that the Memorandum would underpin the statutory obligations of the Essex Children`s Trust, rather than form an overarching influence.

Councillor Lesley Wagland, the Council`s elected representative on the West Essex Children`s Trust Board also expressed concerns. She drew comparison with Epping Forest District Council`s own policies and procedures particularly in relation to Safeguarding, which have been independently identified as `Best Practice`. Councillor Wagland felt that from a legal perspective, the Memorandum of Agreement as written was not specific enough in terms of expectations or requirements, leaving room for different interpretations by the various partners.

Councillor Ann Haigh, Chairman of the previous Children and Young People`s Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) echoed many of Councillor Wagland`s concerns and emphasised the need to place the safeguarding of children first. Councillor Haigh also drew attention to the needs of smaller areas within the context of the overall requirements of West Essex. Councillor Haigh felt the Memorandum was premature and supported Councillor Wagland`s call not to support the document as currently worded.

Councillor Chris Whitbread suggested the document should not be signed at this time. Rather he felt that the good practice identified by independent audit at Epping Forest District Council should be examined more closely by Overview and Scrutiny to see how it might be taken forward. In the meantime, the District Council would assure Essex County Council that it would meet its legislative requirements and continue to work in partnership, while seeking assurances from Essex County Council towards enhancements of children`s services across the County.

Free recycling for schools, halls and places of worship

Free recycling services are to be extended to schools, village halls and religious services at places of worship. Epping Forest District Council`s Cabinet agreed to support the extension of free recycling across the district, mirroring similar services already available on household recycling collections from residents. Councillor Mary Sartin, Environment Portfolio Holder recommended the report to Cabinet.

Commercial businesses continue to be liable for charges for the collection of `trade waste`.

Health Service Consultation

Councillor Ken Angold-Stephens reported to members on the latest North East London health service consultation. He outlined a number of concerns expressed at Overview and Scrutiny Committee including funding and mental health services. Members were also unhappy at the uneven spread of consultation across the southern area of the district.

Watch the webcast

View the Overview and Scrutiny presentation and debate

New Guidelines for Shooters

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Local business, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your community, Your environment

Trespassers firearms and the law posterEpping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Officer Paul Gardener and Epping Forest Police District Crime Reduction Officer Tony Ellis have been working together to improve policing in rural areas. This is as a result of the National Farmers` Union County Chairperson expressing concerns to the Chief Constable regarding policing priorities towards rural crime.

One action as a result of those concerns was for an email family to be established to exchange information between members about current crime trends and suspicious persons. This now 90-strong group has gone on to form a Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) to discuss and resolve rural crime issues – the Prime Minister mentioned the initiative in a recent speech as good practice.

At one of the NAP meetings, a farmer drew attention to a current trend that has become a national debate in some of the shooting magazines. People who are legitimately shooting on land have been approached by trespassers on that land. When asked to leave, the trespasser has reported to the Police that they were threatened by a man with a gun, meaning, in some cases, that the shooter has been arrested and his weapons confiscated solely on the word of the trespasser.

The Police and the Safer Communities Team, in consultation with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and Mick Fidgeon the Head of Essex Police Firearms Licensing Department produced guidelines for shooters which, if followed, would protect them from false allegations. The guidelines will be circulated to every Police Firearms Department in Britain recommending that they be adopted nationally. They will also be taken to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) with the suggestion that ACPO and BASC work together to expand them. Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership has supported the initiative by funding the production of leaflets and posters, which will be distributed to shooters through shooting schools, firearms dealers, retail farming outlets and shooting syndicates.

Tony Ellis Crime Reduction, Mike Aldiss Essex Shooting School, Paul Gardener Safer Communities

Epping Forest Police Inspector Craig Carrington said: We were asked by the members of the NAP to come up with a plan of action, which would help protect legitimate shooters from falling victim to mischievous allegations. Paul and Tony have worked hard on this initiative and the result is a document which contributes nationally to resolving the problem. This has been a Partnership project with a number of other agencies contributing towards the final product and shows the value of working together with the community to resolve problems.

Caroline Wiggins Epping Forest District Council Community Safety Manager said: “The Farmers` NAP has highlighted a very real concern with the potential to have serious consequences and I am pleased the Safer Communities Partnership has been able to support this worthwhile initiative.”