Town centre crime: MP pledges action on walkabout
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Shopkeepers and residents were asked for their views during a fact-finding walkabout aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in Ipswich town centre.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, Tim Passmore, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and Inspector Domenic Mann looked at problems of vandalism in the area.
In recent weeks, a number of businesses have had windows smashed - causing damage to displays, inconvenience and frustration, and time spent dealing with repairs.
The trio visited Tavern Street and the Butter Market, Carr Street and Eagle Street, where they met up with Josh Byworth, owner of Essential Vintage, a store that was attacked by vandals earlier this week.
Mr Hunt said: “I was very pleased to take a pretty long walkabout today. We did visit Essential Vintage, a business that recently started and had their window smashed.
“We know that there were a few other businesses who have been impacted by this as well. Often there were senseless crimes when individuals break windows and they don’t necessarily want to steal anything. They're just doing it for the sake of doing it, which causes costs and emotional distress to the owners.
“We had lots of spontaneous conversations with residents. I heard what I hear every day in emails from constituents, which is that there is a certain concern at certain times of the day. My constituents don't always feel comfortable and they all like to see a bit more police presence.
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“Suffolk Police work incredibly hard. When it comes to the funding, we still don't get a fair deal compared with many other areas and that is something that we need to address.
“Me, the officers and my constituents believe in neighbourhood policing. We believe in having a strong police presence in the town centre and out in communities across town. We need to have the resources to do that and this is something we have been working on and will be continuing.”
Mr Passmore said: “By this time next year there will be 1,400 or more officers in Suffolk, which is more than it's ever been since I was elected nearly 10 years ago, and we will be able to talk about keeping streets safer.
“People’s feelings of safety and security in our town centre is exactly what we want.
“We have arranged a free designing-out crime officer service. Any business or home concerned about the layout of their premises or if they've been the victim of vandalism and loutish behaviour can get the officers' advice on how security can be improved.
“Anybody can get in contact with the police in Ipswich and arrange an appointment. That’s one we can take a very practical step of supporting businesses.”