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Suffolk police form urban street gang team to tackle gang violence in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 January 2018

Knife crimes are among those associated with gang culture in Ipswich. Image posed by model. Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PA WIRE

Knife crimes are among those associated with gang culture in Ipswich. Image posed by model. Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PA WIRE

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A special urban street gang team has been formed by Suffolk police to crack down on violent gang crime in Ipswich, with police warning that those involved will be “robustly pursued”.

In September a report was published about the gang culture in Ipswich, and related violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

It came after a string of knife-crimes over the summer, and identified groups operating in areas including London Road, Bramford Road and Nacton Road among other areas.

Following an update last month with the community at the Ipswich Borough Council central south east area committee, police have confirmed that a specialist urban street gang team has been established.

A police spokeswoman said: “The team form the basis of an integrated partnership approach being developed that will target those intent on continuing to act in this way by working with partner agencies to identify those vulnerable to becoming involved, whilst robustly pursuing those who are engaged in these activities.

“This is about investing in the long term to ensure young people in Suffolk are diverted away from becoming involved in crime.

“Whilst arresting individuals is one solution stopping young people from becoming involved in crime through education, diversion and rehabilitation has to be our long term focus.”

The team is a branch of Operation Woven, which was launched in March last year when violence between two Ipswich gangs escalated.

Since then Operation Velocity has focused on curbing drug crimes, while the urban street gang team is targeting violence and associated anti-social behaviour related to gangs.

Speaking after the area committee where an update was given to locals, councillor Julian Gibbs, central area committee chairman, said: “This was another opportunity to explain the problems to residents and to hear their views.

“Gang violence and related crime is clearly something that requires all of us- councils, police and other agencies - to work together to tackle and that is what we are doing.

“It is also vital that we work closely with our communities.”

Anyone who sees any suspicious gang activity should call police on 101.

How to spot the signs of youngsters becoming involved in gangs

Police have issued advice to parents on how they can spot the signs their child is involved in a gang – here are a few of the pointers police have published:

•Wearing clothes of certain colours relating to specific gangs

•Gang symbols on schoolbooks and bags

•Unusual hand signals between youngsters

•Sudden changes in friendship group

•Holding large sums of money or bringing expensive items home

•Listening to rap music associated with gangs and violence

•Youngsters aligning themselves to certain postcodes

•Using social media to access content promoting gang culture

•Using chat rooms to bully and coerce others

•A rise in skipping school

•Being vague or secretive about their activities and who they are meeting

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