Hundreds of police still in county

MORE than 250 police officers from outside Suffolk remain in the county today assisting with inquiries into the deaths of five women.Officers from West Mercia to Sussex and Dyfed Powys to Merseyside have been in the county since the discovery of the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls on December 12.

MORE than 250 police officers from outside Suffolk remain in the county today assisting with inquiries into the deaths of five women.

Officers from West Mercia to Sussex and Dyfed Powys to Merseyside have been in the county since the discovery of the bodies of Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls on December 12.

Suffolk police requested assistance from across the nation when it emerged that Miss Clennell, 24, and Miss Nicholls, 28, had become the latest victims of the killer stalking Ipswich's red light area.

Tania Nicol, 19, Gemma Adams, 25, and Anneli Alderton, 24, had already fallen victim to the killer but Suffolk police had not called for assistance until the true scale of the dragnet became apparent.

At the peak of the inquiry nearly 267 officers from 35 forces, including the Ministry of Defence and Police Service of Northern Ireland, were using their expertise to assist Suffolk.

Now, more than two weeks on from the discovery of the bodies in Levington, the numbers have reduced very slightly.

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There are now 256 officers from 34 forces assisting Suffolk by trawling through CCTV, preserving scenes and providing knowledge of the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) computer system.

Officers from Merseyside have also been employing Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to check the details of vehicles going to and from the Portman Road area.

Some of the forces providing assistance have changed - four of the original forces have left and three new ones have arrived, meaning 38 different constabularies have assisted on the case.

It has been the biggest inquiry in Suffolk's history and the biggest nationwide since the London bombings on July, 2005.

It is not known how long the huge police presence will remain in the county but a spokeswoman said expertise from elsewhere was still needed at this time.

She said different officers were being used because there was no longer the demand for so many scene preservation officers and other expertise was needed.

How do you think police have handled the investigation? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks: www.suffolk.police.uk; www.eveningstar.co.uk/news

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