Hostel criminals pose little threat

CONVICTED criminals living in hostels in Ipswich have extremely low rates of re-offending despite growing fears in the community that the residents pose a threat, the Evening Star can reveal.

CONVICTED criminals living in hostels in Ipswich have extremely low rates of re-offending despite growing fears in the community that the residents pose a threat, the Evening Star can reveal.

According to Suffolk's Probation Service, out of those who have re-offended none of them have been sexual offences despite the fears of families living near to one of them.

Some have been so frightened of the possibility of offences being committed by paedophiles they have set up their own campaign.

Earlier this year The Star revealed two hostels, near to Foxhall Road and Norwich Road can house sex offenders, despite them being within a mile of ten schools.


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Residents in the north west of the town started the Not Near Schools Campaign to try to prevent them from being housed there.

But today, one of the campaign organisers said it makes no difference if sex offenders have re-offended or not because she fears they still pose a threat.

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The woman, who does not want to be identified lives close to the hostel near Norwich Road.

She said: “It doesn't matter if none of them have committed a crime up until now. It only takes one to do it before we have a tragedy on our hands.

“Sarah Payne's killer was a convicted paedophile and this shows that they do re-offend.

“My kids are my world and I will not let anything happen to them.”

In total in the hostel near Norwich Road, which is run by the Suffolk Probation Service, there have been just two residents who have been convicted for further offences since 2003 - one for robbery in 2003 and the other for common assault this year.

In the hostel near to Foxhall Road, there were also two convictions for residents in the last three years - one for assault in 2005 and one for theft this year.

Martin Garside, assistant chief officer for the Suffolk Probation Service, said: “The figures show what a success these hostels are.

“It is much more important to have hostels where these people go to live where they are supervised in terms of surveillance and rehabilitation.

“If they came out of prison and moved back into the community surely they would be at a higher risk of re-offending.

“I can understand everybody wants them to be somewhere else but they have to go somewhere and these figures show we do well at integrating these people back into public life. Perhaps these figures will help to put the debate into proportion.”

Do you think people are worrying unnecessarily or do you think the campaigners are right to try to prevent sex offenders living in the area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

weblink: www.notnearschools.co.uk

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