Three Uttlesford councillors have written to senior figures in the police accusing the force of 'ignoring' reported drug dealing.

Cllr Geof Driscoll and Cllr Neil Gregory, from Uttlesford District Council, and Cllr Rod Jones from Great Dunmow Town Council, wrote to Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst and Essex Chief Constable B. J. Harrington with their concerns.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger HirstEssex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst (Image: Conservative Party)

Their letter followed a meeting in Dunmow on January 25, attended by Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch, where around 60 Uttlesford residents expressed their frustration at the police's perceived lack of response to drug dealing.

The meeting - which was chaired by Mr Hirst - raised concerns that 999 calls about open drug dealing are not responded to, with no action or follow-up, while the police prioritise crimes against people and property.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Essex Chief Constable B. J. HarringtonEssex Chief Constable B. J. Harrington (Image: Essex Police)

Members of the community expressed particular fears that schools are being targeted by drug dealers with 'apparent impunity'.

Following the meeting, the councillors sought further feedback on policing from community stakeholders, who they said shared the same concerns.

In their letter, the councillors said: "It was made clear that 999 calls on overt drug dealing would not be pursued.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Geof Driscoll, Uttlesford District CouncilCllr Geof Driscoll, Uttlesford District Council (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

"We need to be very, very clear with you both - drug crime undermines our communities and society, leading to both direct further crime against people and property and damaging the lives of those directly involved.

"We wish to see these matters prioritised, as do our residents.

"Failure to do so will inevitably lead to a crisis of confidence in the leadership of policing both within Uttlesford and across Essex."

The letter said that Essex County Fire and Rescue Services are held in high regard by residents, while police have a poorer reputation.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Neil Gregory, Uttlesford District CouncilCllr Neil Gregory, Uttlesford District Council (Image: Uttlesford District Council)

The councillors also welcomed the news that 900 new officers are in the process of joining Essex Police's front line service, as well as welcoming the increased police presence in areas of the district.

In response to the letter, an Essex Police spokesperson said: "We take drug-related crime very seriously – it’s why our work resulted in drug dealers being jailed for a total of 800 years in 2023, thanks to the work of our Raptor team in our Serious Violence Unit.

"We will always prioritise incidents where someone's safety is at risk and the 999 number is for emergencies such as these.


"It is also really important that people report information about drug dealing to us so we can target it even more effectively, either by calling us via 101 or via our website via our online reporting tools.

"This allows us to build a picture of a particular issue, and use intelligence to build an investigation which will lead to arrests, charges, and convictions.

"There has been an increase in the number of drugs offences recorded in Uttlesford, which is a result of the positive, proactive work we are carrying out across the district to identify offenders.

"We are fully committed to driving down drug-related crime, and working with our community in Uttlesford we will continue to do so."