Police tackle wannabe thugs

IPSWICH/SUFFOLK/UK: Thugs and riot “wannabes” will not be tolerated on the streets of Suffolk, determined police chiefs stressed today.

Their warning came as fast-response teams invoked “robust policing tactics” to break up a gang of youths in an early-hours flashpoint in Ipswich.

One 20-year-old was arrested in the incident – and within hours he was in front of the courts and jailed for eight weeks.

Suffolk’s officers, already assisting colleagues in the Metropolitan Force, are determined to root any troublemakers “within minutes”.

In the early hours of yesterday, they broke up a gang which had assembled in the town’s Cox Lane car park – with nearby homeowners and traders fearing the worst.

An Ipswich-based squad, led by Acting Inspector Ali Livingstone, dealt with the offender, but later took other individuals home, using police cars as taxis.

Some parents were alerted by the arrival of squad cars outside their home – and told where their children had been found.

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In other developments in the terrifying riots of 2011:

n Around 60 Suffolk officers were continuing to help colleagues in London

n Police were asking parents to keep their offspring off the streets, especially overnight.

n Ipswich MP, Ben Gummer warned the public that threatening behaviour would not be tolerated.

n Patrick Smith, 20, has spent his first night in jail. He was jailed yesterday after lobbing a can of Coke at a police officer.

n Suffolk Chief Constable Simon Ash hasn’t returned to his desk from a holiday in the south of France. But he will come home if any major issues emerge.

n The Suffolk operation is being led by Deputy Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer and Assistant Chief Constable Paul Marshall.

n Some 56 specials were on duty in the Bury, Ipswich and Lowestoft areas, clocking up some 475 hours.

Mr Marshall told The Evening Star today: “Our intelligence officers keep picking up talk of possible disorder on various social networking sites and we are monitoring this very closely. But much of this is just malicious chatter.”

He praised Ipswich teams who responded swiftly to the Cox Lane incident and nipped a “tense” situation in the bud.

“Small groups were trying to taunt our officers and it was very tense for a while,” he added.

The Ipswich operation, overall led by Chief Insp Martin Ransome, was adopting the same procedure overnight last night.

“Gangs intent on causing trouble on the streets of Suffolk will not be tolerated,” said Mr Marshall.

Mr Marshall praised his squads on the streets, full-time officers, special constables as well as community officers.

Meanwhile, one shop owner camped at his store in Eagle Street, Ipswich, in attempts to warn off any potential rioters.

The town resident – who asked not to be named out of fear of reprisal – said: “My staff and I stayed there because we wanted to be prepared in case anything did happen.

“There was no way I was going to let anything happen. I was very pleased to see a high level of police presence in the town – it was clear that they were there to stop any trouble from breaking out.”

He said that concern grew when “40 to 50” young people descended on surrounding roads.

“They were running up the road like animals,” he added.

n Opinion – page 6