COMMUNITY leaders failed to keep their promise to lobby for more police officers in Southend, it is claimed.

In April this year independent councillors put forward a motion to Southend Council calling for policing in the borough to be strengthened.

Concerns were raised about how safe residents felt after a string of knife-related crimes took place in the town centre.

Council Leader John Lamb agreed and amended the motion to represent cross-party backing as the council united.

However, almost three months later, the administration is facing criticism for not following through on its promise to call for more police from the Government.

The motion stated: “As a matter of urgency, this council calls upon the offices of the police, fire and crime commissioner, chief constable and the home secretary to authorise the allocation of additional resources.”

But, in a letter seen by the Echo, it was dated July 4.

Independent councillor Martin Terry is outraged.

He said: “I have been pressuring the council since May to produce the letter they had sent and called for it to be brought before the scrutiny committee.

“I eventually got a copy of the letter - sent more than two months later despite it being expressed as an urgent matter.

“I am absolutely furious. We have had a string of serious crimes in the town, including a rape last week. When are they going to wake up?

“This is a matter of life and death. They are employed to serve the community and they have let them down.

“People do not believe there are enough police in the town and something needs to be done but instead all the administration has done is pay lip service by agreeing what was an independent motion in the first place.”

The council claim all the letters have been sent as of July 4 and claim the delay was down to changes in Government.

Mark Flewitt, councillor for public protection, said: “We would like to reassure residents we are fully behind the motionagreed in April, in relation to additional police resources in the borough.

“By producing a letter of this importance, it is vital we include all relevant information and that we must get it right, meaning the original letter being redrafted to reflect the wider conversation.”