Essex

Essex Police begin town centre violence crackdown

A three-month "zero tolerance" crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence in two Essex town centres has started.

Essex Police intend to arrest and charge anyone committing an assault in Colchester and Clacton, as opposed to issuing only a caution.

The trial, dubbed "One Punch", will take place during evenings and the early hours at weekends between August and November.

The force said it made 10 related arrests over the first weekend.

The scheme, which will take place between 20:00 and 06:00 BST every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, has been introduced in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service.

'Pockets of aggression'

Supt Darrin Tompkins, who is leading the initiative, said the plan was not indicative of a particular problem, but was aimed at a "seasonal increase" in incidents.

"At the moment we've got a 5.5% reduction in violent crime in the division, but we want to reduce that further.

"But it's not about numbers, this is about stopping people being assaulted and being the victims of crime.

"What we're saying now is 'don't bother causing trouble, because if you do you will end up in court and that will have a significant impact on your life'."

Vivienne Wiggins, who organises a group of 50 street pastors from local churches in Colchester, said she supported the move.

"This [weekend] felt much more like a party atmosphere and little pockets of aggression were swooped off fairly quickly.

"It's not affecting the majority of the really good party-goers having a good time, so it's not being a killjoy, it's just pulling out those elements who have come in for the wrong motives," she said.

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