Call for more police patrols after Christchurch Park stabbing
PUBLISHED: 11:49 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:28 24 April 2019
Residents living close to Christchurch Park are calling for greater police presence after a 15-year-old was stabbed.
Police were called at 6.10pm last night following reports that a group of young people were involved in a fight near Christchurch Mansion.
Officers attended the scene and discovered a 15-year-old boy had sustained a stab wound to his upper leg in what officers believes was a targeted attack.
He was taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance but was later transferred to Colchester Hospital, where he remains in a critical but stable condition.
Tony Bird, who lives near the park, was shocked by the recent attack and fears that there are not enough police on the streets.
He said: “It's scary when it happens on your doorstep – this town is getting worse and worse.
“There's no discipline around here anymore, the youngsters that live in this town couldn't care less.”
The 53-year-old continued: “There are no police around. Fifteen years ago you would walk through the town centre and see a couple of officers and now there's none.”
Chris Chambers, a Conservative councillor for St Margaret's and Westgate, says its not just about getting more police on the streets – but also empowering them to take action.
Mr Chambers also said that there is not just one solution to the rise in knife crime, but we all have a part to play.
“The county council, the borough and the district council should be working alongside the police and education to engage with young people,” continued Mr Chambers.
“It's a real worry that knife crime is taking place under our noses – this particular attack was in broad daylight and in a popular park where families were enjoying time together.”
Police believe that the bank holiday attack followed a fight between a group of young people, with people reportedly running out of the park in the direction of Fonnereau Road.
Three 15-year-old boys and an 18-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with the incident and were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre, where they remain for questioning.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “We constantly review all crime being reported to us to ensure we deploy our resources effectively based on threat, harm, risk and the investigative opportunities presented to us, and we will always endeavour to respond effectively, prioritising crime in progress or danger to people.
“Last autumn we made changes to our policing model to increase the accessibility and visibility of police officers within our communities with more than 100 police officers moving into Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
“These changes demonstrate that we have, and will continue to listen to the public in order to be more effective in responding to incidents across the county and the public's desire for more visible policing.”
“We have also invested into a Youth Gangs Prevention team, where our officers work closely with partners to divert young people at risk away from crime. This includes targeted patrols, educational visits and supporting diversionary activities.”
The park was closed to the public shortly after the incident, with police cordons in place.
Ipswich Borough Council is co-operating with Suffolk Constabulary's inquiry.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with information should contact South CID at Landmark House on 101, quoting crime reference 37/22672/19.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or via its anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org