200 suspects are on the run - but Suffolk Police won’t say who they are
Nearly 200 suspects are wanted by Suffolk police for crimes from rape to drug offences – but we can’t tell you who they are because officers say it would breach their privacy.
Some of the suspects have been wanted by Suffolk Police since the early 1990s for crimes including rape, supplying drugs and threats to kill.
There are among the 193 criminal suspects currently wanted by the Constabulary.
The police put out appeals for just a handful of those suspects. On the wanted page of their website there are currently ten appeals for wanted suspects for offences from 2004 onwards.
Under the Freedom of Information Act this newspaper asked for the details and pictures of the 15 suspects wanted for the longest period of time.
But police refused to release any details which could identify the suspects as they said it would breach their right to privacy under the Data Protection Act as well as the Human Rights Act and would be “unfair”.
Other police forces in the country have released details through similar requests and this newspaper appealed that decision, arguing the public should know who the suspects are, particularly those who have been wanted for serious crimes for several years.
But the police rejected the appeal and said the information would only be released if they thought the public was at risk or if an active investigation was happening.
The suspect on the run for the longest is someone wanted for drug supply in Newmarket in 1993.
That is followed by someone wanted for an indecent assault in Ipswich in 1994.
The most serious offence of the 14 suspects not named is someone wanted for a rape in Ipswich in 1999.
Officers said they would not say who the wanted suspected rapist was as they were “presumed to be abroad”, so much time had elapsed since the offence and there was no “policing purpose” in doing so.
Rachel Almeida, from charity Victim Support, said: “It is of course shocking and upsetting for victims to know that the perpetrator has not been brought to justice, especially with regard to more serious crimes such as murder and assault, and this can make it difficult for them to move beyond the crime and begin to rebuild their lives.”
Why the police won’t say who they want
Suffolk Police said there was no “policing purpose” in disclosing the names and claimed there was little public interest because the crimes took place so long ago.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes said: “Disclosing personal details of a wanted suspect is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and we consider the perceived current risk to public, whether the individual is suspected as being abroad and the nature of the offence.
“We prioritise the protection of all members of the public, regardless of who they are, and determine whether releasing an individual’s name is suitable from a policing purpose and whether the right to privacy outweighs public interest in its release.
“Our response to each individual ranges from a significant proactive use of media, partner agencies, and traditional and covert policing techniques, to reactive monitoring of systems to identify any new addresses or locations.”