Police pledge to crackdown on crime around Jubilee Park in Ipswich during action day
- Credit: Su Anderson
Frustrated residents who say they don’t feel safe where they live have spoken about the everyday troubles they face in one of Ipswich’s most crime-ridden areas.
Police held a multi-agency day of action in Jubliee Park yesterday in a bid to reassure the community.
Inspector Mark Thomas said there had been a high volume of crime and disorder in the Westgate ward of the town over the past year. Police received reports of 288 crimes and 842 incidents in that area in the last six months of 2015.
“It’s a very transient area with people coming and going, so it may be that some people don’t respect the community because they don’t feel a part of it, but there are a lot of decent people living here who don’t deserve what’s going on,” Insp Thomas said.
“The overarching aim is to reduce crime and disorder in the area and improve the quality of life.”
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Advice was offered to residents about fly-tipping, littering, housing, crime reduction and scamming.
Insp Thomas said police now plan to host the event on a monthly basis
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Officers also conducted a “weapon sweep” with the aid of dogs, and Insp Thomas said a number of knives had been recovered from Jubilee Park.
Crime reduction officers from Suffolk Constabulary and members of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme were on hand in Surrey Road and Sirdar Road to talk to locals.
Councillors representing the Westgate ward on Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council were also walking the streets yesterday to talk to residents.
Borough councillor Julian Gibbs said the event was fully supported by the council.
“I live in the ward myself and I like it, it’s very diverse and on the whole it’s peaceful however it would be wrong to say it doesn’t have its challenges and it’s unacceptable that people feel unsafe,” he added. “Hence why we are here today to address these challenges and to reassure the community and to make it safe by working together as agencies and I really support what the police are doing here.”
What it’s like to live in Jubilee Park
“It’s getting to the point that I feel I can’t cope because it makes general life very stressful.”
These were the sentiments of 47-year-old Sarah, who has lived in Surrey Road for two-and-half years.
“It’s horrendous,” she added. “There’s drinking, drug dealing, people dumping rubbish everywhere.
“Kids are screaming constantly and there’s around 10 to 15 of them charging about. It quietens down in the winter, but in the summer the drug dealing is rife. I’m pleased the police are here today, I think it’s about time that we had someone to discuss the problems with.”
Ms Vanriel said her ex-husband had recently been attacked while walking their 15-year-old son home.
“That’s made my son feel really unsafe, it’s not fair,” she added.
One resident spoke out about how her teenage daughter had been victimised by men in an alleyway.
The 51-year-old, who gave her name only as Sue, has lived in Sirdar Road for 12 years.
“I don’t feel safe, I live near an alley and there’s men down there every night,” she said.
“My daughter is 19 and they pull her and talk to her and she’s terrified walking home. It shouldn’t be like that coming into her own house.
“It’s good that the police are here now, I think they should be walking up and down all the time, especially late at night.”
Sue said she had noticed a decline in the Westgate ward since the streetlights were switched off at night time. Working at nearby Handford Hall Primary School, Sue said staff had found needles in the bushes of the school.
Anti-social behaviour in the area has effected business for Sabah Mamand.
The 32-year-old has worked at Stop and Shop convenience store, in between Surrey Road and Sirdar Road, for two months. He said: “I think around 6pm-7pm when it gets dark too many kids come around here and kick balls at people and ask for drinks and cigarettes.
“People don’t want to come out because of the groups and gangs, I feel safe because I am a grown man, but others don’t.
“Some may say it’s because there’s too many foreign people, but I don’t think so, no foreigners have caused problems it’s all the kids making the area look bad.”
Sylvia and Peter took over the pub in August last year having previously run The Dales in north Ipswich.
The couple said the windows of the pub had been smashed five times and their satellite dish had been vandalised on three occasions.
“I didn’t realise how bad it was before coming here,” said Mr Bardell, aged 69.
“It used to be a good pub. I have had to lock everything up because people were dumping rubbish round the back of the pub, I had big gates put up.”
Mrs Bardell, aged 73, said there were always a lot of children playing football in the streets and kicking balls at the pub.
“We have tried to be nice to the kids, but I don’t know what to do,” she added.
“It does put people off coming into the pub, when we moved down here people said they didn’t want to come to this area.