Ipswich: Council says it’s winning the battle after fall in street drinking in St Matthew’s Street

St Matthew's Street in Ipswich. St Matthew's Street in Ipswich.

Thursday, February 6, 2014
6:31 PM

One of Ipswich’s most notorious street drinking hotspots has seen a dramatic reduction in the practice following a multi-agency operation.

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St Matthew's Street in Ipswich.St Matthew's Street in Ipswich.

Incidents of street drinking and drink fuelled violence in St Matthew’s Street have fallen by a third since 2011.

Ipswich Borough Council last night said they were winning the battle against street drinking at the spot, which became the focus of a campaign against anti-social behaviour last year.

In 2011 there were 103 street drinking incidents reported in the street, that number fell to 89 in 2012 and to just 65 last year.

In October the Borough Council launched, with the help of the police, a large-scale project to clean up the area of the road near Berners Street.

It followed on from other initiatives such as Operation AFRESH which tackled street drinking and Reducing the Strength, which saw high strength alcohol removed from shops.

Benches used by street drinkers have been removed while broken lighting and security lighting around the shops has been improved and increased.

CCTV cameras were installed and resident retailers have established a ShopWatch scheme in conjunction with the police.

Street cleaning was also stepped up and weeding completed while pavements, cobbled areas and walls were power washed and graffiti removed.

Future improvements include painting the railings, redecorating the canopy, fixing some broken paving slabs and keeping on top of street cleaning to ensure pride returns to the area.

Last night the project was hailed as a success, and the Star understands it will be rolled out to other parts of Ipswich soon.

Deputy leader of the council, Councillor Neil MacDonald, said: “This is all part of our drive to improve the area for residents and businesses. I believe the community has also played its part and we can see pride returning to the area.

“But the project is not complete; we shall be working with the police to ensure the St Matthew’s Street area maintains its new look and feel.”

Inspector Danny Cooper from Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “I am pleased there has been a reduction in both street drinking and anti-social behaviour in St Matthew’s Street as a result of the on-going partnership work however I am not complacent and there is more work to be done, particularly as we approach the spring and summer period.

“The initiative ties in well with the long-term street drinking project which incorporates the Reducing the Strength campaign in the town and officers will be targeting individuals committing offences in the area such as alcohol, substance misuse and begging.”

However not everybody was convinced the project was having long term benefits.

Musa Taskin, who runs the Sunrise Café in St Matthew’s Street, said there were still drinkers around.

“I think if they want to do something about it they really need to do something. For one month they had police always standing up here and it was good but why have they relaxed it? If they were doing this always I’m sure things would change.”

10 comments

  • All that's happened it they've been moved onto the parks, alderman road park is a tip with bottles, broken glass drunks and litter, dont get me wrong the council do a great job cleaning up after them on the parks but its not good for them to be sitting near a playground drinking, I personally wouldnt want to take my children there ... the number of street drinkers has not been reduced they are just being moved around.

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    carpman

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • I agree with Mister Cynical and carpman. Whilst this scheme may on the surface have good intentions, in reality it seems little more than a cosmetic exercise which goes nowhere near solving the problem. You can plug a leak but water eventually finds another way, so as the drinkers will find another place to go.

    Report this comment

    Robotix

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Waspie's wife. Having reached my age and watched the arrival of liberalising of alcohol sellling all hours of the day in supermarkets, the push to clubs and early hour drinking, encouraging the young into a night time club economy......Instead of managed pubs, off licences with restricted hours.... and from very few drunks on the street and in police cells in 70's to A&E being swamped today...it's not rocket science to see where all this has come from. The selling of cheap 2 litre ciders and cheap alcohol is not helping decrease street drinkers. The town and police clauses act 1847 must cover problem of street drinkers in some shape or form. and the new increase in binge drinking and hospital admissions. In the 70's the cells had a few regular drunks.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Yes thanks council for moving them from the St Matthews street they have now moved 10 minutes walk away to where i live which is great i now have street drinkers and addicts outside my flat which is a lovely sight to greet me and my 2 month old daughter when we go out

    Report this comment

    Megahman

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Same old same old...... Out of sight out of mind. As long as they are not drinking in THAT area lets all call it a sucess. Its the same narrow minded approach we expect fom local government though isnt it. And how many millions did it take to set up the committee to run the commitee that is now hailing sucess????

    Report this comment

    Mr cynical

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • The drinkers were forced to move on... it didn't solve the problem. probably moved them on from a dump of a place to somewhere not quite as far gone but soon to get that way. If Musa is that bothered she would move her cafe elsewhere. She could easily do that... get more customers. I would rather them hang out there then move further into the town centre. The truth for the reduction is just as much about the weather - taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for police to prevent street drinking. I find it ironic (but not funny) how police will patrol areas to prevent street drinking but not alley ways to prevent rape or muggings in crime hotspots that have high recurrence rates.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • You are completely correct, carpman. The forced, voluntary partial prohibition AKA "Reducing the Strength" is a failing ideology and it is wrong to claim ANY success, apart from a bit of spring cleaning. It is failing miserably and is not helping people that just aren't going to disappear. We need a proper wet centre - not run by the council or police like before. Then, and only then will those offended by seeing troubled souls in the street be possibly relinquished of the heavy burden of having to actually see some of the harsh realities of modern society and it's effects on some in 21st Century Britain.

    Report this comment

    Mister Cynical

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • You are completely correct, carpman. The forced, voluntary partial prohibition AKA "Reducing the Strength" is a failing ideology and it is wrong to claim ANY success, apart from a bit of spring cleaning. It is failing miserably and is not helping people that just aren't going to disappear. We need a proper wet centre - not run by the council or police like before. Then, and only then will those offended by seeing troubled souls in the street be possibly relinquished of the heavy burden of having to actually see some of the harsh realities of modern society and it's effects on some in 21st Century Britain.

    Report this comment

    Mister Cynical

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Yes thanks council for moving them from the St Matthews street they have now moved 10 minutes walk away to where i live which is great i now have street drinkers and addicts outside my flat which is a lovely sight to greet me and my 2 month old daughter when we go out

    Report this comment

    Megahman

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • So much for Ipswich having pavement cafe's - cant do it cos the tramps and alchy's sit there so all the seats have to go - nice one!!

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Friday, February 7, 2014

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