Police bid to reassure ethnic community

GROUPS in an ethnically-mixed area of Ipswich have been working with police in order to reduce the perception that crime is increasing.

GROUPS in an ethnically-mixed area of Ipswich have been working with police in order to reduce the perception that crime is increasing.

Two high profile crimes in Norwich Road in July - an assault by a group of men and a stabbing which ended in an armed siege - coincided with the introduction of the national smoking ban.

Smokers started congregating in the streets outside the various cafes and restaurants causing worries of a link between these groups, often young men, and the isolated violent incidents.

Inspector Matt Dee of Suffolk police contacted members of the diverse Portuguese, Bangladeshi, Kurdish, Iranian, Iraqi and Polish business and social communities which have made the area their home.

He said: “The part of Norwich Road between the town centre and the Bramford Road junction is a very multi-cultural and vibrant area.

“Different groups have made it their home over the years, from the Bangladeshis who are very established now, to more recent newcomers such as Portuguese and Russians.

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“There are a few issues there, but they are just the sort of problems that are always associated with areas where there are fast-food premises which open late.

“But most of the reports of crime we get from the area involve people passing through - it is a main arterial route out of town, used by a lot of people.”

A letter was sent round to businesses in the area in August saying that police were looking at ways to reduce this fear of crime and Inspector Dee said the response was positive.

He said there has been a noticeable reduction in the groups loitering on the pavements, and people have told him they feel safer in the area.

Inspector Dee said: “The businesses we have spoken to have all been very co operative and keen to help - for example we know one café has now converted an area of their rooftop to be used by smokers.”

And businesses agree that there has been a marked improvement in the area.

Owner of the O Portugues café and supermarket, Jose Camarihna, said: “I have been here five years and see a lot less crime now than in the past.”

Manik Miah, owner of the Maharini restaurant, said: “There have been groups of people in the streets because of the smoking ban, and they could have been intimidating for passers-by or customers coming here.

“It has got a lot better recently, there are less people hanging around in groups, and I think this is because the police have done a good job of communicating with the people who live and work around here.”

Are groups congregating outside pubs, cafes and restaurants since the smoking ban adding to the fear of crime in your area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Appeal for community contacts from Suffolk police

SUFFOLK police want to make contact with members of the ethnic communities in the Norwich road area of Ipswich, to continue the work they have started.

They would like to speak to people who are interested in working with them to reduce the fear of crime and to build relationships between the police and between the diverse groups that call the area home.

It may involve attending meetings to report the concerns of their communities or acting as spokesmen or women for their communities.

Anyone who would like to be involved should contact Inspector Matt Dee on 01473 613500.

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