Home secretary Priti Patel visits Ipswich for walkabout with police
PUBLISHED: 19:05 14 March 2020 | UPDATED: 20:43 14 March 2020
Complaints over “unfair” levels of funding for Suffolk police and fears about crime in Ipswich were raised with home secretary Priti Patel as she did a walkabout with officers in the town.
Ms Patel also met chief constable Steve Jupp on her visit to the county town, where Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said the area's top police officer explained the force's staffing challenges and what needs to be done to tackle 'county lines' drug-dealing and gang-related violence.
The secretary of state, who is currently at the centre of a row about alleged bullying of her civil servants, met with Mr Hunt and Mr Jupp at Landmark House after the newly-elected Ipswich MP had raised concerns over Suffolk's funding formula in Westminster.
After hearing about the tragic incident in St Matthew's Street in February, where Richard Day died after being attacked outside the Kebapizza eatery, Ms Patel went on a walkabout in the town centre - where she also heard concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour from members of the public.
Media were not invited to cover the visit on Saturday, March 14, but Mr Hunt said in a statement afterwards: 'We spoke about the tragic incident that took place in St Matthew's Street and what needs to be done to prevent something like this from happening again.
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'I also spoke about the concerns that are constantly raised with me about anti-social behaviour in the town centre and how we need a zero-tolerance approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
'Suffolk is getting 54 new police officers and this is very welcome. However this doesn't change the fact Suffolk is still underfunded compared to other constabularies and this needs to change.
'In Suffolk £154 per head of the population is spent on policing, but the national average is £194.
'If we are going to move to increase police presence across our town, then they need the resources to do so and their time also needs to be freed up.'
In a Tweet afterwards, Ms Patel said: 'I am determined to bear down on violent criminals and keep the public safe.
'Today I and @tomhunt1988 joined @SuffolkPolice to discuss the steps they are taking to tackle violent crime to protect the local community in Ipswich and the public across Suffolk.'