Ipswich hailed as trailblazer

IPSWICH was today acclaimed as a trailblazer in the fight against anti-social behaviour.The claim was made as the government published plans to overhaul policing in England and Wales to free troubled estates from the grip of vandals and thugs.

IPSWICH was today acclaimed as a trailblazer in the fight against anti-social behaviour.

The claim was made as the government published plans to overhaul policing in England and Wales to free troubled estates from the grip of vandals and thugs.

Measures being considered include the national introduction of dedicated policing teams for each neighbourhood to encourage greater communication with the public.

But many of the principles of the White Paper have already been embraced in south east Ipswich, according to chief superintendent Geoff Munns, of Suffolk police.

The police and other agencies, including Ipswich Borough Council, are already working together to deal with troublemakers in the Gainsborough area of town, he said.

And it is a blueprint that could be extended to the policing of other parts of the town.

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Ch supt Munns said: "We were always conscious our vision in developing a neighbourhood policing team was innovative and I believe the government White Paper endorses this.

"While south east Ipswich continues to have problems associated with a lawless minority, we know residents and businesses have recognised significant improvements with regard to visible patrols and overall satisfaction with the service they're getting.

"The success of the team in south east Ipswich convinces me that this style of policing should be developed across the town. We'll work towards this as soon as staffing levels allow."

The new policing initiative, which has seen increased resources directed to troubled area, was introduced last April.

A host of other tactics have also been employed, including the use of dispersal orders in Queen's Way and Reynolds Road.

The crackdown on thugs and vandals in the area, which has now been running for seven months, has been an overall success, according to police.

This is despite problems experienced in the summer with vandalism, burnt out vehicles and clashes between police and youngsters in Reynolds Road and Queen's Way.

Ch supt Munns said: "One of the most important aspects of the south east Ipswich team is how it has brought together representatives from all public services, the community itself and voluntary agencies, who now meet every fortnight."

"I'm sure Ipswich Borough Council and our other partners will welcome the government commitment to develop neighbourhood policing for the 21st century."

WEBLINKS

www.policereform.gov.uk

www.suffolk.police.uk

TIMELINE

IN April this year, police and other authorities launched a major new crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the Gainsborough area. This saw extra resources directed to the area.

But throughout the summer there were a number of disturbances on the estate, with trouble focused on the Queen's Way shopping parade.

In one incident, in July, police made a number of arrests following four days of clashes between a trader and youngsters. Around the same time, an empty shop was being vandalised and a number of burnt out cars dumped in and around the area.

In September, police introduced a new tactic to quell the trouble. Ipswich's first two dispersal orders, running from 9pm to 6am daily, were introduced in Queen's Way and Reynolds Road.

This banned troublemakers from the area between these times - and had an instant impact.

More 100 were moved on, with police hailing the operation a success.

But on the night police made the claim, two cars were torched perilously close to shops in Reynolds Road.

There have been a number of other isolated incidents since, but the authorities maintain their crackdown in the area has been an overall success.

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