SWITCHING off streetlights during the night does not have an impact on crime levels, according to the county's police, fire and crime commissioner.

Roger Hirst commissioned a report to find out the impact of part night lighting on crime, anti-social behaviour and crashes following concerns raised by residents in public meetings across Essex.

According to the report, levels of crime have increased in part-night lighting areas between 1am and 5am when the lights are off, but it was in line with the national increase.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Roger Hirst will meet residents in Epping later this month

Analysis - police, fire and crime commissioner Roger Hirst

Crime levels in non-part night lighting areas have also risen. 

Mr Hirst said: “We have not been able to identify a noticeable increase or decrease in crime or road safety issues as a result of part night lighting.

"When there is an operational need for the lights to stay on, for policing purposes, say for example after an incident or incidents in an area, officers can make the request to Essex County Council for the lights to go on for a period of time. This arrangement appears to be working well and is a good way of ensuring for the safety of Essex residents remains a high priority. 

“I have heard that many people feel say they feel safer when the lights are on but councils need to take decisions on hard evidence and the data shows no overall impact on crime or road safety of lights being turned off at night.”

“I will continue to review any potential impact of part night lighting on crime levels through my regular performance and resources board meetings with the Chief Constable and his team.”