A NEW scheme to stop crime from happening has been launched by police after a 12 per cent increase in Essex crime within a year.

Essex Police has launched a new crime prevention strategy to prioritise "the highest harms our county faces".

The scheme comes hot on the heels of the Essex-wide "Let’s Talk About Crime" campaign which sets out steps to reduce the risk of being a victim of crime.

The scheme has nine strands, each of which tackles an area of crime where the levels of threat, risk and harm are highest or which are happening in increasing volumes.

More data will be shared between police and community groups. The police aim to intervene with gang members and domestic abusers to stop offending, and ensure more "join-up" with partners to focus on crime hot spots.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics showed a 12 per cent increase in crime in Essex for the year ending June 2018 compared to last year, and a huge 20 per cent increase in sexual offences, higher than the national average for England and Wales.

Although violent crime is increasing in Essex and across the country, Essex experiences less ‘violence with injury crime’ per 1,000 people than Devon and Cornwall;

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said: “As demand for our time and help increases, if we don’t act to set out a clear expectation for police and our partners on how we’ll work in different ways to prevent crime from happening we risk heading in to a world that is only focused on responding to incidents that have already harmed people and property.

“Crime doesn’t just happen: it has its roots in complex problems which are solved together – whether that’s communities, councils, businesses or the voluntary sector. This strategy isn’t set in a world where we suddenly have more time and money: it’s a statement of intent that sets out where our main effort will be to prevent as much crime happening as we can.

“If that results in someone not committing a high-harm domestic abuse offence because an early intervention project has helped them, or if it means a bank recognises a scammer trying to hoodwink an elderly person into withdrawing their savings, this strategy will be a success. We’ll be working hard every day with partners to make sure that’s the case.”

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We all want to live in safe, secure communities where crime is prevented from happening and where we are all free to prosper. “Working together with partners and the communities they serve, Essex Police can make a real difference by tackling the causes of crime and preventing people becoming involved in criminal activity in the first place.

“This strategy clearly sets out the focus for crime prevention over the coming years, supporting victims, tackling offenders and reducing the impact on our communities.

"Tackling crime is not only the job of the police. It is all of our jobs to help our communities stay safe and prevent crime wherever we can.”