Essex Police has been praised for the way officers prevent crime but must improve its work with low-risk registered sex offenders, according to a report.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published reports on forces across the country grading their effectiveness.

Essex Police was graded at good in all four categories which are preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and reducing reoffending, protecting vulnerable people and tackling serious and organised crime.

The report said the county experiences less crime than average in England and Wales, had reduced anti-social behaviour by twice the national average, and although there is more domestic abuse incidents than average - Essex Police arrest more people per 100 incidents than the majority of other forces.

HM inspector of constabulary Zoë Billingham praised the force for their improvements but said she was concerned about their work with sex offenders.

“I am very pleased that Essex Police continues to build on the impressive improvements it has made since 2015.

"It is now good across the board in terms of keeping people safe and reducing crime.

“The force focuses on preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour; every neighbourhood has a community policing team and they devote most of their time to preventing crime happening in the first place.

"It’s good to see the community safety hubs up and running where the police work effectively with partners, like councils, to tackle the underlying causes of crime.

“Investigations are generally to a good standard, especially for complex crimes like serious sexual offences and child abuse and I commend Essex Police’s considerable efforts to improve how it keeps vulnerable people safe.

“On a less positive note, I am concerned that the force is not complying with national guidelines for the management of low-risk registered sex offenders and has stopped all mandatory visits to them.

"I will be monitoring the force’s response closely.

“Overall, I am very encouraged by the progress the force has made and commitment that it demonstrates to improve further.”

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh hailed the work of his officers.

He said: “Keeping people safe and tackling crime is every police force’s first duty and it’s down to the hard work of my officers and staff that independent inspectors have graded Essex Police as a good force.

"We are a service under increasing strain and that means striving to give the best possible service we can to victims of crime based on putting harmful offences and vulnerable people first.

“My job is to put more resources into frontline, local and visible policing and there’s good news around the corner for all our communities on that.

With burglary down, arrests for domestic abuse offences up and lower crime than the national average, we are doing more than ever to make Essex safer.

"Communities can have confidence that we’re doing the best we can and are using the resources we have as effectively as possible.”