This month will see the expansion of Essex Police's The Rural Engagement Team.

New officers will be under the new leadership of Chief Inspector Terry Balding as part of an increase in front line policing which was introduced across the county in June.

The already well established team focuses on policing in our rural communities, they will be gaining four new police constables and a sergeant, followed by additional officers in early 2020.

The team will work with partner agencies and residents to tackle such issues as unauthorized traveller encampments, hare coursing, night-hawking and flytipping.

Chief Insp Balding’s first day in his role was Monday, July 1 after 23 years in policing, 16 have been served in Essex.

Talking about his new role, he spoke of the importance of visible policing and helping those living in more isolated areas feel safe.

He said: “I am really excited about this new chapter in my career it comes at a time when the force is expanding and I look forward to helping to make our rural communities safer.

“I am passionate about policing especially within the rural community, I have fond memories of my Grandfather and being on his farm growing up.

"I feel that the partnership between officers and the local community is crucial in our fight against crime and want to continue to build on these relationships moving forward.

“At this time of year hare coursing and people looking for sites for this illegal activity is a particular focus for us. We would ask everyone to look out for signs this is going on, any unfamiliar vehicle or groups of people with dogs to please report to 101.

“The rural community in Essex is a large part of our county and it has its own challenges. I am determined to protect and serve everyone within it.”