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PUBLISHED: 20:12 22 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

A TOP cop told today of officers' "despair" at the lack of support from courts in dealing with those responsible for the abuse of police and anti social behaviour in Suffolk.

A TOP cop told today of officers' "despair" at the lack of support from courts in dealing with those responsible for the abuse of police and anti social behaviour in Suffolk.

"Officers are going to court telling magistrates, giving evidence, that when they have attended to deal with a situation they are verbally abused in the most foul way," Assistant Chief Constable, Colin Langham-Fitt, told the Police Authority.

"Police are then told in court, 'you're a police officer, you should deal with it'," he added.

"Whilst we don't have the support of the courts," he said, "it becomes very difficult to deal with."

Such lack of support from the courts is "something we've been told is increasing".

Mr Langham-Fitt said: "It's almost a feeling of despair that they (police officers) put effort into taking people to court and then are told they should expect it."

Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee told authority members discussing a 23 per cent rise in public disorder in Suffolk, that officers were increasingly reporting their authority being challenged.

"Authority is being challenged by more and more people at younger and younger ages," he said.

"If we are trying to run effective boundaries of civil society, (we) look for other agencies to play their part," he said.

Such agencies included schools, "but also the courts," he said.

Magistrates' member, Brendan Fulham, said: "The problem we have is the punishments available to magistrates do not necessarily fit the crime." But he added: "I'd be very upset if magistrates weren't taking seriously the abuse of police officers."

Mr Fulham said he would take police authority members' concerns back to magistrates.

n Do you think police should receive more support from the courts. Write in with your views to Richard Brown, Letters Editor, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail EveningStarLetters@ecng.co.uk

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