Ipswich street rangers stop patrols amid coronavirus crisis
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A team of street rangers who patrol Ipswich town centre in a bid to keep people safe have been forced to stop going out due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, the Ipswich Central Town Centre Rangers have assured people there is nowhere for criminals to hide, as they will keep in touch with stores and police via a RadioLink system to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.
The business improvement district (BID) has employed its own uniformed team to walk around the town, providing reassurance to shoppers and businesses, ever since the organisation started in 2007.
The team of four rangers patrol the town centre between 8am and 5pm each day, not only to root out trouble and be a visible presence but also speak regularly with shops about how to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
In an email sent to BID members today, Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “They have been there through thick and thin, sunshine and showers, good times and bad.
“They have never avoided the most difficult situations, never afraid to step in and help any business or to assist any customer in need. They are brave, committed and incredibly hard-working.”
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However he said: “Yet, as many businesses are forced to pause trading due to COVID-19, today we have made one of our most difficult decisions.
“To best protect our ranger team, and in an effort to reinforce the demands from government to restrict the movement of people on our streets, we have found ourselves with no alternative but to ask them to remain at home.
“We want to reassure you that this decision has not been taken lightly and in full consultation with our board.”
He assured people that “the moment the restrictions are lifted, your rangers will be back” - and added: “In the meantime, the Ipswich Central team continue working on your behalf and we will be staying in touch with our ranger colleagues every day whilst they are at home.
“We will continue to supervise RadioLink, a crucial communication between businesses and to police and CCTV.
“In addition, it is our intention to shortly announce our plans to support businesses throughout this difficult time, and then how we plan to boost delivery as soon as things begin to return to normal.”
The coronavirus crisis has caused unprecedented change to people’s lives, with pubs, cafes and gyms ordered to close last week in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
Many other shops have also taken the decision to close in a bid to adhere to the government’s advice on social distancing - staying at least 2m away from people at all times to limit the risk of picking up an infection.