Police vow to crack down on unlicensed raves as Suffolk unlocks

Operation Sentinel's marked BMW 330 police cars Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Operation Sentinel's marked BMW 330 police cars Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

As we move through the Government’s roadmap for easing restrictions I would like to thank the community of Suffolk for aiding in the county’s response to bringing the case rates down.

As the rates have reduced in Suffolk so has our demand in relation to needing to enforce the regulations. 

This has allowed us all to play our part in navigating through the easing of restrictions and refocussing our efforts on keeping crime down and the county safe. 

The next steps of the easing of lockdown are likely to have the biggest impact as the recovery continues and we find ourselves heading towards a new sense of normality.

As a coastal county we are likely to see a higher footfall of travellers into Suffolk so it is crucial that we don’t get complacent in allowing the virus to take hold again. Please continue to follow the Government guidelines and keep yourselves safe. 

With summer fast approaching I want you to know that my officers are here to engage with and support the community of Suffolk and hope everyone can have an enjoyable and safe time. 

We are well aware of the UK “staycation” and are actively involved in partnership engagement at all levels, including strategically and locally, so that we can fully understand what support will be required.

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Following the summer of 2020 we know of the likely increase in demand and have a good understanding of where we need to focus attention moving forward into this summer.

At the present time we are particularly focusing on supporting our green spaces and our licenced premises re-opening. 

Of course I want people to enjoy themselves responsibility and sensibly, but we do recognise that excess alcohol can often fuel anti-social behaviour and criminality so we will be proactive. 

We will be utilising intelligence to identify any unlicensed music events - our stance will be to engage early with organisers to prevent offences being committed.  We know our beauty spots will be really busy this summer so we will be focusing on visibility and engagement.   

Last evening you may have watched the first episode of 'Fast Justice' which features the Constabulary’s Sentinel teams.

This is ground-breaking as it is the first time Suffolk Constabulary has been involved in such a series. 

Fast Justice is a new 10-part television series airing on the award-winning entertainment channel Dave in April, May and June.

Based across the county, the Sentinels are proactive crime-fighting teams dedicated to cracking down on organised crime, protecting Suffolk’s communities and tackling cross-border crime. 

Our officers have made more than 730 arrests since the first team was set up in late May 2019 (up to March 11, 2021) after Operation Sentinel was funded by a rise in the council tax precept. 

Given exclusive access, ITN Productions spent three months embedded with officers during the latter part of last year after securing the production company’s first commission with UKTV to make the programme, with the crew following officers while they combat crime across the county.

Following real stories as they happen, the series features issues including drug trafficking, human trafficking, violent, serious and complex crimes.

It also highlights the challenges and criminal trends the police in Suffolk face on a day-to-day basis.  I am so pleased that we have been able to showcase the teams’ impact on tackling organised crime, as well as helping to keep the people of Suffolk safe on a daily basis, and hope that you will enjoy the series. 

The Suffolk Commercial Vehicle Unit went live on November 23 last year. The new unit consists of two Roads Policing officers from Suffolk targeting enforcement activity around commercial vehicles using the county’s roads.

By the end of this year (financial 20/21) the team had stopped 553 vehicles and enforced road traffic offences to the value of £102,100.

In conjunction with local enforcement the unit has been engaged in local and regional support in delivering Operation Alliance, the most recent activity being at Copdock on December 2.

 I recognise that keeping roads open and flowing is really important to you and I do realise the impact road closures have all on us both privately and professionally. 

Finally, no doubt you will have read or heard about the recent operation to recover more than 80 dogs from West Meadows site in Ipswich. 

This intelligence led operation last month saw officers on the site for over 10 hours. 

This story has prompted a wave of appreciation and messages of support from both dog owners and other members of the public.  

Hundreds of overwhelmingly positive messages of thanks were received on our social media pages and this is a clear sign that you have confidence in us. 

I am so very grateful for your support.