March 7 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
More than 20 organised gangs are understood to be linked to criminal activities in Suffolk.
However, although police would not confirm specific numbers, a senior Suffolk Constabulary officer stressed the numbers do fluctuate heavily.
His comments came after the county’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore spoke at a breakfast meeting at the Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce about organised crime.
During the meeting Mr Passmore said there were 35 organised crime gangs which police were aware of operating in Suffolk.
He later confirmed that figure was based on information he was given during September or October last year.
Detective Superintendent Simon Parkes, head of the organised unit for Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies, said the current number was considerably less than 35.
However, he declined to say how many there were as police forces protocols across the country do not reveal figures.
Some of the groups have come into Suffolk from neighbouring counties, or abroad. Others are from London, and some are based in the county. It is understood more than 20 are currently on police radar.
Their activities will typically range from lower level crimes such as shoplifting to burglary, drugs and people trafficking.
Det Supt Parkes said: “The numbers do heavily fluctuate. We have far fewer than 35. The number of crime gangs we consider to be criminally active is a lot smaller number.
“We have had considerable success against a number of those, some of which are waiting to go through the judicial process.
“What we don’t see in Suffolk is the levels of violence, threats and intimidation on a regular basis from serious and organised crime.
“The range of action we take is proportionate to the threat they pose. Some groups may simply be subject to police officers understanding which vehicles they currently own and whether they have come into money they shouldn’t have, while some will be subject to more proactive policing.
“The ones we focus on within our figures tend to be domiciled in Suffolk, but we do have groups who come into the county and will travel through the county within their offending.”
Mr Passmore added: “I know Suffolk is one of the lowest areas in the country for activities involving organised crime. Home Office figures have indicated there were somewhere in excess of 5,000 gangs in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“We will not reduce our commitment one iota in working to combat the threat of organised crime.”