Ipswich to get Government help to tackle gang-related drug crime

Police to get government help to deal with drug gangs

Police to get government help to deal with drug gangs - Credit: Archant � 2007

Ipswich is to receive specialist support in tackling gang-related drug crime.

Since the mid 1990s Ipswich has been one of many towns and cities targeted by organised groups from London.

Large and small-scale enforcement operations have been carried out over the years.

However earlier this year senior officers said a harder edge was noticeable in the way the dealers carried out their business.

Twice last month there were large-scale fights which were suspected to be linked to drugs between groups that were reported to have weapons.

One took place in Victoria Street on Sunday last week, the other in Bath Street on October 3.

Officers stress they will fight “tooth and nail” to ensure drug gangs do not get a permanent foothold in the town and that the problem is being contained.

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The Home Office has now announced Ipswich will be one of 10 areas to be given specialist help by being included in the Government’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme.

Suffolk Constabulary requested access to the scheme’s resources and expertise which is already given to 33 other areas around the country.

Chief Inspector Steve Denham said: “In general we don’t have a big problem with gangs in Ipswich and the surrounding area, but it is something that we need to be aware of and we do see related issues such as drug crime and occasional violence. We applied to government’s ‘Ending Gang and Youth Violence’ programme as we believe the support it offers, which will predominantly come in the form of sharing advice and expertise, could potentially help us to develop new ways to tackle crime on the streets of Ipswich and make the town a safer place for everyone.”

Dealers and drug ‘mules’ constantly travel up from London on trains and in cars via the A12.

Police use a variety of tactics to disrupt and dismantle these operation, who often send young and vulnerable men to sell drugs in Ipswich. This related to the violence they were prepared to use, as well as their exploitation and coercion of some of the addicts they sell to.

It is commonplace for their homes to be taken over in order for them to be used as a base for dealing.

Officers’ hands are often tied when they arrest a suspect as dealers usually conceal drugs internally and are unable to be searched unless they give their consent.

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