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The reputation of our town is in danger of burning down around us - action is needed

PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 September 2017

Police have waged a crackdown on drugs gangs in the town, but do they need more resources?  Picture: ARCHANT

Police have waged a crackdown on drugs gangs in the town, but do they need more resources? Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

We have written a lot in recent years about the progress Ipswich has made, in terms of its economic development, the improving town centre and general feelgood factor. But a rise in violence, drugs and sexual crime is seriously damaging its reputation.

Police at the scene of the previous sex attack in Rope Walk, Ipswich. Picture: ASHLEY PICKERINGPolice at the scene of the previous sex attack in Rope Walk, Ipswich. Picture: ASHLEY PICKERING

Ipswich a great place to live - but it’s at a crossroads, and in danger of going down the wrong path.

The latest sex attack in the town centre has horrible similarities with the one in Rope Walk earlier this year. Our thoughts are very much with the victim.

Worryingly, many people will now be questioning: “Is Ipswich a safe place to go out?”

We already appear to be at the stage where women must be advised to always stay in pairs - at the very least - when they are in the town centre at night.

Has it really got this bad? It seems so.

New research has also highlighted the level of gang violence and drug dealing in Ipswich, fuelled by London drug suppliers.

This has been another recurring theme, with stabbings and violence becoming regular events.

Our police force has been doing some brilliant work to tackle the issue. Let’s not underestimate how dangerous and difficult their role is, they step into the firing line daily, and we should be grateful.

But we have to question whether they have enough resources to truly get on top of these problems. They must have more support.

And those responsible, when charged, must be punished appropriately by the courts.

If you’re reading this thinking ‘this will never affect me’, you’re wrong. This affects our town, how we feel about living here, and what people think of us.

And if it gains a reputation for violent crime, or for horrific sexual assaults, it will cast a shadow over all the brilliant work that’s been done. Would you want to open a new restaurant or bar, for example, in a town with such a reputation? Our town is less likely to prosper and fulfil its undoubted potential.

We can’t let this become the norm, and we can’t watch Ipswich’s reputation burn down around us.

We ask every organisation in the town that can have an impact – the police, the council and other support services – to work together to find a solution.

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