BRAINTREE district's top cop insists a rise in serious offences in the district shows an increased confidence in policing.

District commander Jannette Rawlingson revealed there has been a rise in sexual offences, reports of weapons and domestic abuse cases in recent months during a public meeting.

The meeting was held online by the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to allow residents to find out more about policing in their area.

During the meeting, Mrs Rawlingson revealed crime trends had altered since the lockdown was enforced to stem the spread of coronavirus.

She said: "Some crimes have dipped off and some haven’t so I imagine the rolling months of looking at crime stats is going to have an impact.

"Over the last months, we have seen a lot of crimes affecting people reducing such as burglary, robbery, antisocial behaviour and theft from people.

"There have been some crimes where we’re happy to see an increase in.

"We have seen an increase in sexual offences, domestic abuse, and certainly drug offences and weapons because of proactive policing so they are welcome changes.

"Although they can be serious offences, it shows a confidence in the public to report them to us."

Mrs Rawlingson, who has been district commander since August 2018, also explained the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on policing in Braintree.

She admitted that while officers had tried to continue as normal, there had been a number of unavoidable changes for staff at Braintree Police Station.

She said: "Some of our back office departments have had to comply with social distancing so we have had more people working from home.

"We’ve had to change the way we work everyday but I’m happy to say the adaptations we have taken have worked and we are really happy to see our resources, having dipped, have reached to nearly normal levels."

Mrs Rawlingson also reserved special praise for residents for complying with social distancing restrictions in the last two months.

She added: "Braintree district and the community have been fantastic, The police officers have come back really pleased with the waves, colouring in and support from members of the public.

"We’ve been very aware of young people and the vulnerable with mental health that may have had issues dealing with the restrictions sow e have kept an extra eye on the vulnerable in the community.

"But actually everyone has done really well

"It’s been a huge challenge but I do feel like we are coming out of the other side."