Ipswich crime hotspot 'not getting fair share' of police, MP claims
PUBLISHED: 16:05 06 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 07 April 2019
Sarah Lucy brown
A trouble-hit suburb of Ipswich plagued with anti-social behaviour is not getting its fair share of police resources compared to other parts of the town, the area’s MP has claimed.
However Superintendent Kerry Cutler, from Suffolk Constabulary, said officers prioritised resources depending on threat levels, adding that the force has listened to the public and made changes in order to be “more effective in responding to incidents across the county”.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter raised the concerns ahead of a meeting with residents in the Castle Hill area of Ipswich, who have been plagued by anti-social behaviour over the past year.
Castle Court resident Simon Tuddenham told Dr Poulter at the meeting on Friday, April 5 about the series of incidents including vandalism, verbal abuse, thefts and arson in Garrick Way, as well as a break-in at Castle Hill Primary School.
Some incidents have reportedly left neighbours “traumatised”, with more than 100 people attending a public meeting last year to pressure police into taking action.
“We felt he could maybe help us by talking to someone who has got influence over the courts to do something about those who are doing this,” Mr Tuddenham said.
“We also discussed if there was something else round here for them to do around here, so they would have second thoughts about going round and causing trouble.”
Dr Poulter said: “There appears to be escalating anti-social behaviour in the area.
“It appears the problems are getting worse, not better.
“I know police do a fantastic job in the whole of Ipswich and they respond well when dealing with issues.
“The concern I have is that they shouldn’t forget the north-west of Ipswich.
“It often feels to me that the other parts of Ipswich are prioritised and my concern is that when we have an escalating situation in north-west Ipswich, we have more focus in that direction.
“My over-riding concern is that the challenges elsewhere mean we are not getting our fair share of attention in north-west Ipswich for the problems we face there.”
However Supt Cutler, southern area commander for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We constantly review all crime being reported to us to ensure we deploy our resources effectively based on threat, harm, risk and the investigative opportunities presented to us, and we will always endeavour to respond effectively, prioritising crime in progress or danger to people.
“The majority of the individuals we deal with in the Castle Hill area are those in their mid to late teens and as such we work closely with the youth offending service and Suffolk Family Focus.
“Last autumn we made changes to our policing model to increase the accessibility and visibility of police officers within our communities with more than 100 police officers moving into Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs).
“These changes demonstrate that we have, and will continue to listen to the public in order to be more effective in responding to incidents across the county.”
Mr Tuddenham said following the meeting with Dr Poulter: “Unfortunately, ASB problems in Nacton are consuming police resources, resulting in their difficulty in allocating resources to north-west Ipswich.
“Obviously police have got to allocate resources where there is the worst trouble.
“I get the impression there are worse situations elsewhere than here, but I still think we deserve our fair shake of the dice.”
Dr Poulter also raised concerns of a lack of things for young people to do in the area, saying there could be “more sports projects to encourage young people to use their free time constructively”.
However Supt Cutler said: “We have also invested into a Youth Gangs Prevention team, where our officers work closely with social care and other partners to divert young people at risk away from crime.
“This includes targeted patrols, educational visits and supporting diversionary activities, such as Suffolk KickOff@3 on Saturday, April 27 at Whitton Sports and Community Centre, where we and other agencies will be engaging with teenagers through sport. “The aim for these activities is to signpost young people to career and volunteering opportunities, as well as building and strengthening trust and confidence with community groups in the area.”
Mr Tuddenham also believes greater street lighting would help to deter potential criminals.
“The more light we have in the place the better and the less likely things are to get out of hand,” he said.
Supt Cutler added: “We are also exceptionally grateful for the valuable role that the public play in being vigilant and reporting any signs of suspicious behaviour.”
Earlier this year, Supt Cutler also highlighted how a huge volume of calls to police was leaving officers stretched with less time for routine calls.
“There are an incredible amount of calls that come in. There are a huge variety of calls coming in that police are having to manage and respond to on top of everything else,” she said at the time.
“I really understand why people would like to see more police officers on every corner but we’re not in a position to be able to do that.”