Fears over spiking and public safety impact Ipswich's economy

The Reclaim the Night event saw around 100 people come out to make a stand against violence.

Charlie Wedlow at a Reclaim the Night event - women say they do not feel safe in Ipswich at night  - Credit: Charlotte McLaughlin

'There is a compelling argument' for more police on the streets of Ipswich to make 'women feel safe at night', claims council.

Ipswich Borough Council are calling on police to allocate more resource to tackling public safety concerns after a series of alleged spiking cases and a high-profile rape.

They sent a letter of representation to Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner as part of the PCC’s consultation on the Police and Crime Plan for the next three years.

Labour portfolio holder for community protection Alasdair Ross, wrote: “As the county town of Suffolk, with a night-time economy to consider, there is a compelling argument for Ipswich to receive extra resources for crime reduction activity and improving perceptions of public safety, especially making women feel safe at night.

“Improving town centre safety and police patrols during the day were requested in response to Ipswich Central’s observation that concern about public safety was affecting people’s willingness to come into the town centre and is having a direct and negative impact on the local economy.”

In addition, the council has called for a financial contribution to the town’s CCTV, which it currently funds itself at a cost of £500,000 per year.

Cllr Ross told Wednesday night’s Executive that he hoped changes would be incorporated in the final Police and Crime Plan after the public consultation had ended.

He added: “We do work together and we work well together, however Ipswich is the largest population of the county, lots of people come here to work, and we are the largest night-time economy, so we should have extra policing and extra funding and that should be in this plan.

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“That should include the operation against prostitution, we want to see that return to town and should include funding for things like rehab and working with the girls to get them off the streets.”

Tim Passmore, Conservative PCC, said: “We had a good response to the Police and Crime Plan consultation, with nearly 250 detailed responses.

“I’d like to thank everyone – organisations and individuals – who took part in the process. The Police and Crime Plan is a very detailed document and I appreciate the time people gave to make their views known.

“All responses, including the one from Ipswich Borough Council which was presented to their executive committee this week, will be considered prior to me presenting the plan to the Police and Crime Panel for their approval on January 28th.”

The plan, if approved in January, will run from 2022-2025.