SOUTHEND will be getting 50 new police officers after a shake-up of the force’s structure.

The town’s neighbourhood policing team will be boosted by about five sergeants and 45 to 50 constables, who will move in on September 1.

It means every shift in the borough will be boosted by about 10 policemen.

The additions are part of an overall plan to cut costs by £3million.

Across the county, 500 officers will be moved from response hubs and specialist teams to neighbourhood policing teams.

Southend’s district commander Simon Anslow is happy residents will see more officers on the beat.

He said: “I’m pleased, it’s good to have clarity over what the overall picture for Essex means for Southend.

“I think it’s really good because we have officers that have a far greater ownership of their area. They are accountable to me and I am more accountable to the local community of Southend.

“It’s good for Southend in that sense. The officers will take local ownership and have that feeling of pride to make things better for Southend.

“It gives greater flexibility and greater resource to deal with particular issues.”

Response to the average 130 daily calls to 999 from Southend residents will also now fall under the neighbourhood policing team.

He added: “At the moment we are responsible for uniform crime investigation but not response times. I will get additional resources, but I will be held to account in our ability to respond to 999 calls.”

Mr Anslow will be briefed on how the team will be organised next month. John Budge, treasurer of the Shoeburyness Residents’ Association, said he was pleased with the overall plan for local teams in Essex.

He said: “It’s really good news, we would love to see more bobbies on the beat.

“The more police that are seen around Southend the safer people feel.

“A few years ago, when they transferred the response away from Southend, lots of people thought it wasn’t as good.

“Bringing it back to Southend will mean the officers become part of an area more. They get to know people and it becomes more of interest to them. I hope it reinvigorates the force.”