Enforcement alone won't address drugs and violent crime, says PCC
Suffolk's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has called for a "joined up approach" to tackling violence and drugs.
Tim Passmore said society would set itself up to fail by not properly addressing deprivation, economic development and education.
Last week, police arrested seven people suspected of involvement in a London drug gang running a ‘county line’ network to Suffolk.
Mr Passmore said: “I’m pleased to see arrests were made, but we know there’s many more than just one county line.
“We need a sensible, joined up approach, in the short, medium and long term.”
“Ultimately, it’s about reducing demand for drugs and gangs. We have to believe we will tackle it.”
Mr Passmore said the £500,000 recently set aside by Suffolk leaders for a pilot project to tackle drug lines and gangs was starting to be used on extra help for youth workers and gangs co-ordinators.
“We will look back after six months and the leadership group will be monitoring the effectiveness of the money,” he added.
“Everybody is seriously concerned about it, and I hope everyone around the table is committed to getting a long-term solution.”
Mr Passmore also called for long-term, collaborative solutions to violent crime.
He was among community leaders to attend a public meeting after the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Packard Avenue on June 2.
During the meeting, council chiefs were accused of cutting community facilities and pricing local people out of activities for younger people.
Mr Passmore said everyone now had a responsibility to act, adding: “We all have to work together.
“If mistakes have been made, we can’t point fingers.
“We have to learn lessons and work together going forward.
“Unless we sort out deprivation, economic development and education, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
“We would always like more resources, but in the short term, we have to see what really matters to people and harness the power of collaboration.
“It’s about giving young people the right opportunities – meaning they are not left out, whatever their background.
“Enforcement is a very important part of the process, but we won’t win the battle by enforcement alone.”