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Police hail success of new unit

PUBLISHED: 22:00 06 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

SIX months since the formation of the Town Centre Unit, Suffolk police has reported a fall in reported crime in central Ipswich.

The unit, a squad of front line police officers, was set up to make the town centre safer with officers recruited as part of the Suffolk First programme.

SIX months since the formation of the Town Centre Unit, Suffolk police has reported a fall in reported crime in central Ipswich.

The unit, a squad of front line police officers, was set up to make the town centre safer with officers recruited as part of the Suffolk First programme.

Police have heralded the unit a big success with reported crime in the town ward down by six per cent compared to the five-month period before it was established.

Included in this figure is a drop in thefts from motor vehicles, thefts of motor vehicles and a decrease in shoplifting.

The presence of patrolling officers wearing bright yellow jackets is cited as a major deterrent for criminals, as is a joint initiative with store detectives to prevent thefts taking place rather than take officers off the streets after they have occurred.

Inspector John Fletcher, who is in charge of the Town Centre Unit, said: "Suffolk First is all about people both being safe and feeling safe, so in the town centre it is very much a question of getting the right number of officers in the right place at the right time.

"If you achieve that, positive results and reassurance for the whole community will inevitably follow."

The extra police visibility has helped initiatives such as Nightsafe, which aims to make a night out in Ipswich safer. During December, more than 3,000 people were helped home thanks to this service.

John Stebbings, Town Centre Manager for the Ipswich Partnership, said he had also noticed a change since the unit began its work.

He said: "Since the introduction of the Town Centre Unit, there have been a number of positive outcomes resulting from the Ipswich partnership working closely with the police.

"The high visibility policing and the number of officers on the streets is reassuring both the public and businesses – which improves the quality of life for residents, visitors, businesses, tourists and town centre workers," he said.

Police said the impact had also been noticed by other police officers based at Ipswich. Since the unit became operational, it has dealt with more than 700 crimes, which would normally have been previously dealt with by existing staff.


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