‘I welcome criticism as much as praise in bid to improve’

Chief Inspector Janette Rawlingson is the new district commander for Braintree and Uttlesford. Pictu

Chief Inspector Janette Rawlingson is the new district commander for Braintree and Uttlesford. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

Public perception of policing is massively important.

It's a great way of knowing what we are doing well and the areas that we need to improve in - like a health check of sorts.

I'm a believer in praise when praise is due and in constructive criticism. Your feedback will only help my officers improve as a team and as individuals.

Last week I had the public perception survey results back for the final quarter of the financial year (January to March 2019).

The community of Uttlesford have given my team a 10 per cent improvement (year-on-year) that we are doing a good or excellent job in your area.

This represents a huge leap forward and shows we are working towards meeting your expectations. As a proud district commander, that's music to my ears.

From the hundreds of people surveyed, the results show more residents believe we understand what is important to them and that people feel more informed from their local officers.

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Work remains to be done and we will not be putting our feet up just yet.

My officers will continue to engage with you to advise, reassure and inform via patrols, drinks with community links events, social media and through the media in articles and blogs like this one.

I continue to urge you to interact with my officers - your 'hellos', your kind words and your feedback (good or bad) will be welcomed and noted.

We had an unfortunate incident in Common Hill, Saffron Walden, recently where my officers attended an incident resulting in the prompt arrest and charge of a man with racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour.

This follows reports of a woman being abused.

The man, a 59-year-old from Newmarket, is due in court next month.

Incidents like this are rare in the Uttlesford and I want to be clear that hate crime in any form (in public or online) will not be tolerated.

While we are on the topic of local crime, a Bishop's Stortford man was jailed for eight years this month following three attempted robberies.

Adam Day, 36, of Norman Avenue, was sentenced for carrying out an armed robbery at the post office, in Hatfield Broad Oak's High Street in December. I would like to thank my officers and colleagues at neighbouring Hertfordshire Police for their work in successfully putting him behind bars.

I know you want to see action. Even as I type my officers are at a location having found more than 100 cannabis plants in Bichanger with a man taken to custody for cultivation.

However, it's not all about catching criminals - it's also about engagement, breaking down barriers and prevention and I'm really excited about a new operation involving secondary schools in Uttlesford. Operation Enlightenment involves a member of the community policing team regularly contacting each of our four secondary schools.

My officers are engaging with children and teachers, joining them for lunch now and again, to talk to them about our roles, crime prevention and the risks associated with knife crime and drugs.

Young people are so keen to learn about policing that we now have 14 volunteer police cadets signed up to our new initiative. The volunteers, aged between 13 and 17, are meeting once a week and I'm told they are as 'keen as mustard'.

I want to end by saying there are a number of really exciting community events coming up in Saffron Walden.

The Saffron Walden Grand Prix involving dozens of cyclists takes place on August 11 and we've worked closely with our partners to make sure the closure of roads doesn't have an impact on the community.

We also have the Armed Services Day in Saffron Walden on June 29, an event that I am really looking forward to.

Once again, work is taking place behind closed doors to make sure this event is fun, well attended but peaceful and safe.