Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch gets ‘stuck-in’ with police operation at traveller site
PUBLISHED: 09:25 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 12 April 2018
Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden, joined local police units in Uttlesford as they made arrests at a traveller site and discovered a cannabis factory.
On a mission to learn more about local policing and witness the challenges they face first-hand, Mrs Badenoch spent the parliamentary Easter recess taking part in vehicle patrols, foot patrols, case file reviews and a multi-agency operation on a traveller site.
The multi-agency operation was conducted with the aim of arresting individuals wanted for various criminal activities, and gathering intelligence on offences related to the site.
Several cyclists and walkers passing the site have been attacked by dogs, but the lack of a microchip or any other evidence has resulted in very little subsequent action.
To prevent this from happening again the Uttlesford District Council Animal Warden was also a part of the operation, conducting micro-chipping on site and gathering information about the dogs which could be used in the event of a future attack.
A cannabis factory was also discovered, despite two further factories being uncovered on the same site just two weeks ago.
Mrs Badenoch said: “Being involved with an operation like this was the perfect way to round-off my week with the police, and put into practice everything I learned.
“Far from keeping me at a distance, the officers allowed me to get stuck-in with the operation - running around the perimeter looking for anyone trying to escape was quite an experience.
“Many constituents have written to me about issues with travellers in Felsted, Hatfield Heath and elsewhere in the constituency, particularly around illegal encampments. I was so impressed seeing the work of the Gypsy, Traveller and Rural Engagement Team.
“A lot of work has been put into dealing with issues related to criminal elements within the traveller community and how they help the more vulnerable members who often bear the brunt of illegal activity.
“The operation was undoubtedly worthwhile, but it highlighted the need for greater resources as officers from across the county were seconded to the operation.
“I was delighted that my lobbying for a rise in the policing precept was heard, and Essex Police will be getting 150 new officers as a result.
“But Uttlesford cannot go unnoticed when this number is split across the county.
“It’s vital that everyone reports any instance of crime, no matter how minor, to ensure an accurate picture of crime levels in the area. When it comes to allocating these new officers, this measure will be crucial.”
Having attended multiple call-outs with the police units, Mrs Badenoch was able to see how recent policy changes were taking effect on the ground.
“Working with the officers on the ground was an invaluable experience and highlighted just how complex their jobs have become in recent years as we deal with new types of crime. It’s more important than ever that Uttlesford receives the boost in policing it has long deserved.
“I will continue to work hard for this community to ensure that we receive our fair share of police.”