Q&A: Senior officers speak of the challenges after escalation of violent crime in Ipswich

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes. Photo: ARCHANT

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes. Photo: ARCHANT - Credit: Su Anderson

Two of Suffolk’s senior police officers have given a frank assessment of the challenges facing officers after an escalation in violent crime in Ipswich in the past six months.

Supt Kerry Cutler. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Supt Kerry Cutler. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Ipswich’s area commander Superintendent Kerry Cutler and Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes, Suffolk’s head of safeguarding and investigations, spoke in general terms about the part drugs play in many crimes.

Why has there been an upsurge of violent crime in Ipswich?

Supt Cutler said: “I think it is not confined to the last six months and not confined to Ipswich. Nationally there’s a reported rise in violent crime. We have the same issues linked to drug dealing and unfortunately where you have drugs, you have dealing and you have violence.”

Why is it happening?

Supt Cutler said: “Often what we find is the groups involved have disputes amongst themselves and unfortunately they are often settled through the use of violence.”

What can police do about it?

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Supt Cutler said: “We have had Operation Volcanic in Ipswich for responding to issues relating to drugs, but likewise we have a number of other initiatives aimed at tackling the cause of violence.

“We have a co-ordinated response across the county to tackle drug dealing.

“It is intelligence-led, but also supported by our partners. While police carry out enforcement activities the only real way we are going to tackle drugs is by removing the menace and there are a number of key agencies across the county involved in supporting victims.

“From the number of recent events we have had immediate arrests.

“We have used additional resources and specialist police resources to respond and undertake investigations.

“Many of these cases have either been through court or are due in court.

“There is no tolerance towards people who deal drugs. They ruin lives.

“We listen to communities through engagement to the issues that they are expressing as a result of drug dealing taking place in Ipswich.

“We have been working with Ipswich Borough Council to tackle those issues and remove individuals causing those problems.

“We actively target this type of criminality.

“It is imperative we continue to have the support we have had from the community and local councillors to remove drugs and addiction from our streets if we are to break the cycle of violence.”

Do the police have enough resources to deal with the current issues?

Det Ch Supt Parkes said: “We are used to having to move our resources around throughout our county to deal with peaks of demand and this is a peak of demand at the moment with a number of major incidents.”

He added if the need arises Suffolk Constabulary can seek help through its collaboration with Norfolk Police, regional law enforcement teams and national teams.

Supt Cutler added: “Ipswich is our county town. It has Suffolk’s biggest population and therefore has the biggest concentration of crime.

“It’s inevitable unfortunately we will see these peaks in Ipswich. That’s why the southern area in Ipswich has the biggest concentration of police and Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

“It is given the resources it needs because it has the biggest population.”

Do you understand the public’s concerns over violent crime?

Supt Cutler said: “I have no doubt despite whatever message police give out, if you are living or working in Ipswich you would be concerned.

“It would be remiss of me to say ‘don’t be’. That’s why we are putting on additional patrols and speaking to councillors to ensure we are listening to the community. But the violence we have seen is predominantly linked to persons engaged in criminality.

“It would be wrong to sit here and say everything is all right and think everybody will just listen to that.”

What can the public do?

Det Ch Supt Parkes said: “There needs to be an understanding policing has only ever been as good as the information it gets. Without that information policing has got a huge uphill challenge.”