Ipswich police reassure public after surge in major violent crimes in last six months
PUBLISHED: 08:40 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06 24 February 2017
Police have moved to reassure the public after a surge in violent crime in Ipswich has seen 11 major incidents in the past six months.
These include three alleged murders, a shooting, stabbings and two gunpoint muggings.
The latest incident happened at 5.15pm on Wednesday near Wherstead Road between Hawes Street and Virginia Street.
It has led to two 46-year-old men being arrested on suspicion of attempting to murder each other after they sustained wounds to the torso and face.
A third man, 31, is under arrest on suspicion of affray.
Police are keen to stress that in many cases the victims were known to the alleged perpetrators and the risk of harm to the general public is relatively low.
Officers and the borough council say despite the high-level violent crime spike Ipswich is still a safe place to live and work.
However, there have been warnings in the past about the continued influence of London drug gangs in the town and how drugs have a connection to many crimes.
One of Ipswich’s most senior police officers, Chief Inspector Simon Mills, said: “How we deal with incidents and what we generate (publicity-wise) to the public might give the impression there has been an escalation of violence per se, but we have had incidents like this before.”
Ch Insp Mills said there were connections to criminality within some of the recent offences, but he could not be more specific as many cases were still active.
However, he added: “These particular incidents while serious in nature are very much isolated within that criminality.
“On most occasions the suspect is known to the victim.
“A number of those problems are linked around a specific area of criminality.
“People should not be unduly worried. We will continue to robustly enforce the law in Ipswich, and Suffolk as well, and look to dismantle criminal networks.
“The community as a whole needs to understand the level of risk to them is relatively low.”
Ch Insp Mills urged anyone who has information about crimes to contact police or Crimestoppers.
The number of major incidents has on occasions left police resources stretched but they insist there has been little impact in terms of normal policing duties.
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “Ipswich is still a relatively safe place. We shouldn’t lose sight of that. However, we are all aware there has been a noticeable increase in relative terms.
“This is something we have drawn to the attention of the police. We are concerned about this as a borough council.
“We know Suffolk Constabulary has faced many cuts in funding from the Government. There are far fewer police officers and police community support officers around in Ipswich.
“Clearly that is going to have an effect.
“Given police have limited resources I think they should be looking at concentrating more officers in Ipswich so we can keep a lid on these problems. Ipswich is not unique in having a drugs issue.
“There is probably not a town in the country that doesn’t. There clearly does seem to be some sort of relationship between the drug trade and some of the violence we have seen.
“We are aware this is a problem. It’s going to come down to the police having to focus their resources on Ipswich to ensure it does not get out of hand.”
The spate of violence began on September 16 when Ahmed Tarabi, of no fixed address, was arrested after Lloyd Fearon was stabbed in Prospect Street.
Earlier this month Tarabi, 29, admitted grievous bodily harm with intent at Ipswich Crown Court and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Since then an 18-year-old was shot in the shoulder in Siloam Place in November,
In December Nathan Oakley and Barry Street were allegedly murdered at West Meadows and two more sustained stab wounds in Foundation Street.
On February 8 Dean Stansby died after being stabbed in Ancaster Road and last week two 14-year-olds were arrested after gunpoint muggings in the Princes Street area and Old Foundry Road.
There have also been four shop robberies in Austin Street, Bridge Street, Garrick Way and Woodbridge Road. In at least three of them a weapon is said to have been used.
Each of these violent incidents have led to arrests or charges with many people still on bail.