Police aim to ease fears

SUFFOLK police chiefs are today under intense pressure to ease the public's fears about the impact of a new investigation centre located next to homes at Martlesham Heath.

SUFFOLK police chiefs are today under intense pressure to ease the public's fears about the impact of a new investigation centre located next to homes at Martlesham Heath.

Hundreds of complaints were lodged about the centre earmarked for the police headquarters and district councillors also raised fears about the possibility of detainees wandering the streets and putting the safety of children and elderly people at risk.

But Suffolk Coastal's development control sub committee overruled the objections and passed the plans for the controversial police investigation centre.

Chief Constable Simon Ash said after the meeting that he understood the public's concerns about people being released from custody, but evidence proved there was not a problem and in the last 10 years no one had escaped from police custody.

The centre is one of six to be built in Suffolk and Norfolk. There will be centres at Bury St Edmunds and north of Lowestoft and officers will question suspects about alleged offences.

The centres will replace the current outdated facilities used at Suffolk's police stations and it is expected that detainees will be held for several hours before being released.

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They will be given a security escort if they have to go to court, otherwise they will make their own arrangements to leave Martlesham Heath.

Mr Ash warned that the public were overstating the perceived dangers and he was worried about possible ''scaremongering'' especially concerning the impact on children going to and from Kesgrave High School.

But John Kelso, a Martlesham district councillor, said that among 312 objections were some complaints from existing police officers who were not happy with the location.

Cllr Kelso said: ''There will be people arrested after coming out of night clubs in Ipswich and brought here at 3am. On Friday and Saturday nights when people are expecting a relatively peaceful night and having a lie-in they will be woken by goodness knows what.”