Anti-social behaviour was voted the top priority by residents at the Safer Communities Conference held at Waltham Abbey in November. Road safety and drugs came second and third as people`s concerns.
The District`s top police officer Divisional Commander Alan Ray was one of a panel of experts and councillors to field residents questions at a special `question time` filmed for webcast on Epping Forest District Council`s website. Hosted by BBC Essex presenter Dave Monk, the panel answered questions from residents across the district.
In an audience dominated by young people, the panel was asked why the media often portrays them in such a bad light. Statistically, Epping Forest District has low levels of crime and anti-social behaviour compared against the national picture.
Alison Cowie of NHS West Essex discussed the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on health services. John Gilbert from Epping Forest District Council and County Councillor Anthony Jackson of the Essex Police Authority discussed road safety -another issue often associated with young people but actually more often a problem with older drivers.
Earlier in the day, Waltham Abbey Town Hall hosted a range of displays. Among those taking part were Lee Valley Regional Park and the Olympic Delivery Authority who showed off a scale model of the new White Water Canoe facilities being built just outside Waltham Abbey.
Essex Police set up a knife detector arch. A Team from Wells Security gave demonstrations with their drug sniffer dogs, Willow and Beamish. Children from Upshire Primary School, Holy Cross Infants School, Leverton Junior School and Hill House Church of England School with winning entries in the Fire Engine colouring competition received awards from Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith.
First prize went to Adam Freeman of Upshire Primary School who won a day at Waltham Abbey Fire Station for his whole class.
Essex County Council Trading Standards, Essex Fire and Rescue, the Essex Young People`s Drug and Alcohol Services, Waltham Abbey Town Council and many other organisations mounted displays.
Younger children were entertain with puppet shows while their parents learned more about the service available in the District, discuss issues and pick up information leaflets and guides.
For very young children, the children`s centre provided a dressing up zone for the emergency services and an opportunity to leave with a personalised calendar.
4 Primary Schools in Waltham Abbey participated in a colouring competition.
Children were asked to colour in the fire engine and complete the picture.
Each school had one highly commended pupil. The winners were as follows:
1st: Adam Freeman of Upshire Primary School
2nd: Jason Baratta of Holy Cross Infants Primary School
3rd: Molly Blackman of Holy Cross Infants Primary School
High commended were Ruby Cairns of Upshire Primary School, Nelli Shafrane Bullen of Holy Cross Infants Primary School, Yasmin Bramble of Leverton Junior School and James Fitzpatrick of Hill House C.E School.