Knife crime 'priority' for police following latest town Section 60

Acting chief superintendent of Suffolk Police Jane Topping with police officer in background

Acting chief superintendent of Suffolk Police Jane Topping (inset) said knife crime is a "priority" for the constabulary - Credit: Suffolk Police/Danielle Booden

A Suffolk Police chief has said tackling knife crime "a priority" following the latest Section 60 Order in Ipswich.

Police were called on Thursday to reports a group of youngsters had gathered in the Norwich Road/Westbourne Park area, some of whom were wielding knives. 

A Section 60 Order was subsequently issued, giving police extra powers to conduct stop-and-search without reasonable grounds.

Acting chief superintendent of Suffolk Police Jane Topping said: "Tackling knife crime is a priority for the constabulary.

"Prevention, education and diversion are key and we work closely, alongside our partners, with young people and families to try to prevent offending before it happens."

Thursday's Section 60 Order was lifted at 5.42am on Friday.

It was just the latest to be enforced following a number of incidents across the town. 

On June 2, the police issued a Section 60 Order after two 16-year-old boys were arrested after a man was stabbed in Upper Brook Street.

Reacting to that incident, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: "Like many urban areas, there is an issue with knife crime in Ipswich.

"Though I would hardly describe these sorts of incidents as frequent, they do occur too often."

Police enforced an order following an incident in Hawthorn Drive in May and in March after a 16-year-old was injured in a machete attack in the Newnham Court area of the Chantry estate.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said knife incidents "occur too often" after a man was stabbed on June 2 - Credit: House of Commons

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Speaking further on Thursday's incident, Superintendent Topping said: "We understand that there are complex social reasons why a young person might carry a knife and this cannot be solved by police alone.

"We must work with partners, as well as our communities, to combat knife-based criminality.

"One of the main motivating factors reported for young people carrying a knife is because they feel threatened, but by carrying one you are putting yourself in much greater danger.

"And it is also illegal.

"We will continue to take positive action to prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused and urge anyone with information in knife crime in their local community to contact police on 101, or report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"In an emergency, always dial 999."

On June 23, policing minister Kit Malthouse visited Ipswich to meet with officers from Suffolk Constabulary and promote a Home Office campaign to recruit people from all backgrounds to join the police. 

He said: "Ipswich faces its challenges. It's a town that's changed a lot over the last decade. Big new developments, it's been a big success in many ways economically."