New crime figures show violence is up

VIOLENT crime in Suffolk rose by nearly 20 per cent in the past nine months, new figures have revealed.More than 5,500 offences were recorded in the county between April and December, compared to just over 4,700 in the same period last year.

VIOLENT crime in Suffolk rose by nearly 20 per cent in the past nine months, new figures have revealed.

More than 5,500 offences were recorded in the county between April and December, compared to just over 4,700 in the same period last year.

Nearly 900 of these crimes, which cover violence in a public place, were committed in Ipswich. This is an increase of three per cent in the town on last year.

Ipswich chief inspector Chris Mayhew said reducing the problem remains a major priority for the force and its partners.

He estimated as many as 70 per cent of these incidents occurred between 10am and 4am, with the majority in the town centre.

But he stressed the area is still safer than most others.

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He said: "Ipswich, if you take it nationally, is a safe environment for people to come and have an evening.

"The problems in the town are considerably less than virtually any other major town or city in the country."

Various crackdowns have been carried out to halt the violence, with binge and underage drinking coming under particular focus.

Ch Insp Mayhew revealed checks on a number of establishments before Christmas found none were serving alcohol to people under 18-years-old.

He said the majority of trouble surrounded the 25 to 35-year-old age group.

In his 23 years as a police officer, Ch Insp Mayhew said problems with drunks have increased, with more women getting involved than in the past.

He said: "There has been a slight increase in alcohol-related violence, which does appear to be linked to binge drinking.

"The ratio of men and women getting involved is similar, although there may be more females coming to notice than historically."

Ch Insp Mayhew said new partnerships had been forged in addressing the issue. Close bonds now exist with the borough council, which is included in the crime and disorder reduction partnership, along with the pubs and clubs.

He said: "It's essential there's a good working relationship between all the agencies and we've got that."

Have you been a victim of violence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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