Crackdown on violent crime

SUFFOLK police today launched a crackdown on violent crime in a bid to reduce soaring levels in the county.The issue has been identified as the force's number one priority to address, after the county experienced an increase of nearly 20 per cent last year.

SUFFOLK police today launched a crackdown on violent crime in a bid to reduce soaring levels in the county.

The issue has been identified as the force's number one priority to address, after the county experienced an increase of nearly 20 per cent last year.

The number of offences rose to 10,460 in 2003/04, compared to 8,786 in 2002/03.

Over the past few years their has been an explosion of violent crimes throughout the country, with much of it being particularly related to night-time violence fuelled by alcohol.


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The escalation was graphically illustrated last week when England fans went on the rampage at a Portuguese-run pub in Thetford, leading to the arrest of many drinkers amid a trail of damage at the premises.

Assistant Chief Constable of Suffolk Colin Langham-Fitt was due to outline plans to deal with the problem at the campaign's launch today.

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The purge follows a national clampdown on the problem, which has been identified by government and a key area needing to be looked into.

This includes utilising new antisocial behaviour laws and also introducing extra police officers across the country.

The campaign in Suffolk will run for six months, from the start of July to the end of December.

This will include the key busy summer months and festive period over New Year and Christmas - times when such offences escalate.

A major focus of the crackdown will be to look into the link between alcohol and the rise in these offences, with resources focused on busy town centres at times when people are most vulnerable. Nearly half of this type of crime is said to be linked to drinking.

Although there has been an increase in the amount of violent crime recorded, police have said this is partly due to a rising number of offences being reported, particularly in the area of domestic violence.

Last year's 20 per cent increase in violent crime in Suffolk was broken down into three sections. This revealed violence against the person jumped from 7,949 to 9,529, sexual offences leapt from 588 to 641 and robberies rose from 249 to 290.

Although police stress Suffolk is still the safest county in England, these offences are hindering the Suffolk First initiative being run by the force.

The initiative seeks to establish the county as the safest in England and Wales by 2006.

N Have you been affected by violent crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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