New initiative cuts crime

SHOP-LIFTING offences and the number of youth related crimes in Ipswich have been dramatically reduced this summer thanks to a new initiative to get young people active.

SHOP-LIFTING offences and the number of youth related crimes in Ipswich have been dramatically reduced this summer thanks to a new initiative to get young people active.

'Game-On', a programme of free sporting activities ran last year but was expanded this summer to provide sports sessions to young people aged from ten to 16 in eight different sports centres across Ipswich.

Police Inspector Mark Dee, said: “We are always prepared for an influx of youth related shop lifting offences over the summer months and this is more demanding for us because you're having people in custody longer while we're waiting for parents to arrive and it can tie us up for longer.

“But I believe there have been fewer reports of anti-social behaviour this summer and I'd like to think this is because of the scheme we have been running.”


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The number of shoplifting offences reported by Suffolk Police, a crime often associated with bored young people out of school over the summer months, have dropped by around 35 per cent from 2005 to 2007.

Figures show that in the month of July, there were 148 fewer reports of shoplifting in 2007 compared with 2005 and 129 fewer compared with 2006.

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General incidents of crime in Ipswich is thought to have been reduced by 4 per cent this summer.

The 'youth diversion' scheme, or 'Game-On' project, organised by Suffolk Police and Team Ipswich includes free basketball, football, swimming, martial arts, street dance and boxing sessions.

Insp Dee said: “It would appear to have had a positive impact and although it was only for the duration of the summer period, some young people discover they have an interest in a particular sporting hobby and they continue it.”

Suffolk Police are currently looking at working with other agencies to see if funding can be secured in order for the project to run longer.

Have you been affected by youth crime? Are you a young person who has benefited from the Gane-On project?

Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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