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.