Making Ipswich safer at night - key organisations meet to look at the issues

Sophie Alexander-Parker and Alasdair Ross were among the leaders meeting venues on Friday night.

Sophie Alexander-Parker and Alasdair Ross were among the leaders meeting venues on Friday night. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/IBC/Simply C Photography

Hospitality businesses met with local leaders as part of ongoing work around safety at night in the town centre to ensure Ipswich creates an evening economy people "want to be out in".

On Friday, the mayor, Ipswich borough councillors, Ipswich Central, a judge and the police visited hospitability venues and convenience stores that have licences to sell alcohol.

The focus was on safety and particularly on measures being taken to prevent violence against women and girls as well as generally ensuring the safety of women at night.

Issues discussed with venue staff and shopkeepers included talking about licensing conditions and how they are stopping sexual harassment.

Cllr Alasdair Ross, IBC's portfolio holder for community protection, said he was pleased by examples seen to try and reduce crime included countering drink-spiking, helping with safe routes home. 

Cllr Sarah Barber, IBC portfolio holder for the town centre, said: “I was impressed by the measures already undertaken that make a night-out safer for all and I commend the hospitality and retail trade in Ipswich town centre who forefront these initiatives. I encourage all licence-holders to make their premises as safe as possible for both customers and staff.

“But I also say to those who can do more; it is in your own interests to make your venue as safe as it can be as this will not only  boost your business but the town centre generally.”

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Sophie Alexander-Parker, CEO of Ipswich Central, said one discussion point was gauging the business's interest in reigniting the BarWatch group and to continue work to "create an evening economy consumers want to be out in".

She said: "It is crucial for us to have an evening economy. It is supporting members with a partnership approach as it is critical not only we have an economy that consumers want to be out in but thrives for businesses." 

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said it was a collective responsibility to reduce the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour in Ipswich.

They added: “We hope all those involved found it a productive and informative exercise and we in the police will reflect on the evening ourselves and give careful consideration to any useful suggestions made during the evening.”