Boost for police in Felixstowe

POLICING in Felixstowe is to get a boost.It was announced today the town is to get three community support officers to help deal with increasing problems with anti-social behaviour.

POLICING in Felixstowe is to get a boost.

It was announced today the town is to get three community support officers to help deal with increasing problems with anti-social behaviour.

The officers will enable extra high visibility policing on the streets - to give reassurance to residents and deter young thugs from causing trouble in the shopping centre and seafront.

The move comes just a few months after the town lost several officers in a shake-up which increased the numbers at Lowestoft, a crime hotspot where the police were under enormous pressure.

Suffolk Police Authority has agreed ten community support officers (CSOs) for the eastern area - three for Felixstowe and seven for Lowestoft.

The officers are set to start in January and will be on the streets, after training, by April.

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Felixstowe police commander Insp Neal Atwell will tell the town's police forum the good news tonight and ­is delighted at the extra manpower.

"I am very pleased because these will be officers for the community who will, with the exception of perhaps helping out at one or two major events elsewhere on occasions, be here in Felixstowe all the time," he said.

"They will give greater reassurance to people and will have a vital role to play in dealing with anti-social behaviour."

The CSOs will work with beat officers Pc Steve Warne and Pc Scott Last, as part of a team that includes traffic wardens, resort officers and staff at the Tourist Information Centre.

Insp Atwell said it was hoped to add to their numbers with special constables.

"My aim is to eventually have two officers walking up and down the seafront on Saturdays and Sundays when the resort is busy - so people can see a real presence," he said.

Most of the anti-social behaviour problems have been happening around the pier, prom and leisure centre - one of the resort's traditional haunts for gangs of teenagers - with problems of rowdiness, drinking, verbal abuse and vandalism.

People have felt intimidated and uneasy about visiting the area and its attractions, spoiling the reputation of the resort.

Insp Atwell said there were "small pockets" of trouble and officers were tackling the problems in partnership with Suffolk Coastal's crime reduction team, business owners, and resort staff.

"We met the business owners and the problems have been going on for some time and they were resigned to it ­- we told them they do not have to tolerate it and we should work together on the issue," he added.

n The police forum meets tonight at 7pm at Trimley Sports and Social Club.

n What do you think of the gangs around Felixstowe pier - what should be done? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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