Southend: Op Union returns to keep the city safe this summer

Published on: May 31, 2024

The operation to keep Southend safe throughout the summer gets back underway.

Our officers are working alongside Southend-on-Sea City Council, the British Transport Police, the c2c railway and seafront businesses as part of Operation Union to help residents and visitors enjoy the sunshine in one of the region’s tourist hotspots.

People can expect to see officers out on patrol in the busiest areas of Southend seafront and Old Leigh to provide a visible deterrent to anyone who misbehaves and diffuse any potential flashpoints.

They are supported by British Transport Police – who monitor activity along the train lines into the city – the council’s community safety officers and CCTV team, and the local private security teams employed by the pubs and leisure attractions.

Operation Union began in 2021 after the city saw huge influxes of day-trippers as the Covid restrictions were relaxed.

Last year, officers on Union patrols made 77 arrests and completed 322 stop and searches, with 45% leading to the discovery of illegal items including drugs, weapons and stolen goods.

There was a 24% drop in incidents of violence against the person and a 55% fall in anti-social behaviour compared to the previous year.

Superintendent Leigh Norris is leading the operation this year. He said:

“Southend attracts people from all over the country and our team will be on hand throughout the summer to make sure residents and visitors can relax and enjoy themselves in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere.

“If you need help, our officers will be out on patrol and there to assist you. If you spot something that concerns you, look out for our bright yellow jackets and come and tell us. You can also contact us online or call 999 in an emergency.

“We have very strong relationships with the British Transport Police, Southend-on-Sea City Council and the seafront traders, and we’re all working together with the same aim: making sure the city continues to be a safe place for people of all ages to enjoy.

“In 2023, we were successful in preventing potential troublemakers from entering Southend and individuals who have fallen below the standards of behaviour expected have been swiftly removed or appropriately and robustly dealt with to ensure the enjoyment of the majority isn’t affected. That will continue to be the case this year.”

Marc Miller, chair of the Seaside Partnership and managing director of the Stockvale Group who own Adventure Island, said:

“After the great success of Operation Union in recent years, I’m extremely pleased it’s returning again ready for the summer.

“Visitors to Southend seaside have a fantastic time, and we don’t want anyone’s day spoiled by people who can’t behave.

“We have security teams at Adventure Island and all the way along the seafront who work very closely with Essex Police and local authorities to make sure those who step out of line are dealt with. If you do intend to cause trouble, your day certainly won’t go as planned.”

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