Crime-busting cash boost for region

DRUG-addicted prostitutes are to benefit from part of an £800,000 boost for crime-busting projects across the region.The East of England's crime reduction director Sue Howl, today announced the funding for 22 schemes, including three in Suffolk.

DRUG-addicted prostitutes are to benefit from part of an £800,000 boost for crime-busting projects across the region.

The East of England's crime reduction director Sue Howl, today announced the funding for 22 schemes, including three in Suffolk.

Ipswich Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership received £63,000 to produce a 'joint sex industry strategy and implementation plan.'

It will tackle the increased impact of prostitution and crack cocaine on local communities. The plan will focus on preventing prostitution, education, employment and training, accommodation, drug treatment and harm reduction, health and welfare needs for the town's working girls.

Kerb crawling, and the police's moving-on policies featured in the Star this week, will also be included in the plan, along with outreach work with prostitutes and a programme to divert young women in immediate contact with the sex industry.

Jim Manning at Ipswich Borough Council said today that there was 'a lot of work still to be done' regarding the two linked themes of crack cocaine and prostitution. He said: "Crack cocaine is a major problem in Ipswich. This is a genuine, long-term piece of work to tackle problems which affect a small number of people – prostitutes for example - but have an effect on a large number – ie the nearby residents."

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Building a database of vulnerable children could help prevent them going into crime, and asylum seekers, prostitutes, and offenders are also set to be helped by the plan. The pilot scheme could be copied across the country in the future.

Another CDRP project, to create a community safety website, was awarded £18,000.

A grant of £48,000 was also given to Suffolk Area Child Protection Committee's Project Respond. The committee wants to set up video links between witness support centres and local courts – to be installed in new centres used by several organisations. This is designed to help vulnerable witnesses of crime, and increase the number prepared to give evidence.

A new regional resettlement programme for offenders, which limits risk of harm to victims, also received £119,250.

Ms Howl said: "There are so many good ideas out there about the best way of tackling local crime issues, that we wanted to give some support and extra resources to develop and encourage them."

N What do you think crime reduction money should be spent on?

Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail: EveningStarLetters.eveningstar.co.uk.

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