The seizure of a zombie knife and the detention of a suspect subject to an international arrest warrant are early successes of police officers directly employed by the council.

At the end of January Epping Forest District Council approved plans to spend £645,000 over the next three years hiring one Essex Police sergeant and two constables, in addition to a security company officer performing targeted work.

A 2.5 per cent council tax increase paid for the measures.

Six months on from the officers going operational, a list of their key actions thus far has been published.

Not only did the they seize a high power motor vehicle involved in Organised Criminal Gang activity at Limes Farm, the officers worked with Parkguard to sweep the estate for weapons - recovering a zombie knife in the process.

Their work also took them to Ongar where they arrested two people suspected of stealing a van thought to be linked to organised crime groups.

One of the suspects was subject to an international arrest warrant.

Over in Buckhurst Hill they arrested two suspects from Kent for going ‘equipped’ with drugs and offensive weapon before stopping an uninsured van suspected of serial fly-tipping involvement.

The officers' work as Limes Farm formed part of a broader, cross-boarders project with the Metropolitan Police which was praised by the force's safer neighbourhood team inspector who said: "“It is impossible to quantify the amount of serious violence that has been averted due to our cross border working.

"As a result of the joint action there are currently 24 Hainault members in prison with sixteen criminal behaviour orders in place and another eight lodged."