Blitz on career criminals reaps rewards

A BLITZ on persistent offenders in Ipswich is reaping dividends, a senior police officer in the town said today.The crackdown, which is part of an offensive against career criminals in east Suffolk, is aimed at taking the recidivists off the streets and slashing crime rates.

A BLITZ on persistent offenders in Ipswich is reaping dividends, a senior police officer in the town said today.

The crackdown, which is part of an offensive against career criminals in east Suffolk, is aimed at taking the recidivists off the streets and slashing crime rates.

Detective chief inspector Dave Cole today hailed the offensive, codenamed Endurance, as one of the most successful ever launched by the force.

He said: “If you take out a few key offenders you can have a big impact on crime - and this has shown that.


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“Home Office research has shown ten per cent of offenders are responsible for more than 50 per cent of the crime. We believe similar statements can be attributed to this group.”

Since the operation got up and running in the Ipswich area in January, around 150 arrests have been made within the 154-strong band of criminals currently pinpointed.

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Tactics employed include enforcing warrants and bail conditions, carrying out stop checks and searches and employing high visibility targeted patrols.

Offenders are also being given a “premium” service through the justice system, cutting down the time it takes for cases to reach the courts.

Det Ch Insp Cole said the strategy has proved to be crucial in cutting crime levels, while also reassuring the public.

“Although some people might be alarmed by the figure of 154 people, they should be assured that all of those 154 are receiving focused police attention and many are currently serving time at her majesty's pleasure,” he said.

“This figure is constantly being reviewed, with some people added to the list and others taken off it.”

With many of the prolific crooks behind bars, the move has already yielded a 30 per cent reduction in burglaries in the town.

Det Ch Insp Cole said: “To date it has proved to be one of the most successful Suffolk Constabulary operations.

“And one of the main plus factors is that it's not about to conclude. This is something that's ongoing.”

The operation heralds a new partnership between the police and other agencies to ensure offenders are dealt in a more co-ordinated and speedy manner.

This has seen information exchanged with other bodies to help share intelligence on the targeted local persistent offenders, with information logged into a police computerised database.

These offenders are pinpointed by a set criteria laid down by the police, with consideration given to issues such as the number of convictions and arrests within a certain time period.

All officers are then tasked with closely monitoring the offenders in each of their particular areas.

Det Ch Insp Cole said: “It has been welcomed by the officers. It's focused their minds. But in fairness, most operational officers know the individuals that cause us most harm.

“Although 154 is a lot of people to target with our resources, we've been very successful because of the number of custodial sentences that have been served.”

The approach has proved so successful that it is likely to become national policy in the near future. Its introduction followed a period of “unprecedented” rises in the Ipswich area in early 2003.

Det Ch Insp Cole said: “Some forces have taken similar approaches, but over the next 12 months I think we'll see this benchmarked as best practice and rolled out to other forces.”

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What do you think should be done with persistent offenders? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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Latest figures show since the Operation Endurance campaign began, more than 75 people have been arrested across East Suffolk.

They include:

An 18-year-old man and a 29-year-old man both from Felixstowe arrested on suspicion of thefts

A 17-year-old man from Felixstowe charged with two counts of threatening behaviour after an incident at Martlesham Heath

A 32-year-old Woodbridge man arrested on suspicion of burglary

A 27-year-old man from Rendlesham charged with making off without payment

A 33-year-old man from Ipswich charged with theft from a Kesgrave store and sentenced to prison

A 32-year-old man from Lowestoft and a 20-year-old man from Woodbridge charged with separate thefts

A 35-year-old Leiston man charged with driving offences

A 23-year-old Beccles man charged with obstructing/resisting a police officer

A 32-year-old Ipswich man charged with driving while disqualified, after his arrest at Martlesham Heath.

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