Revealed: Suffolk's drugs curse

A NEW report has today laid bare the true and frightening extent of Suffolk's drug problems.According to the study by Suffolk Police Authority, which combines data in a way never done before: Up to 35 per cent of all crime is related to drugs, including theft and burglary to fund habits; More than 8,000 people in Suffolk a year are victims of drug related crime; Suffolk has at least 600 class A drug dealers, at a conservative estimate; Only seven other counties in the country have more recorded drug trafficking than Suffolk; The force has recorded 11,500 claims of drugs offences, such as drug taking or dealing since October 2005.

A NEW report has today laid bare the true and frightening extent of Suffolk's drug problems.

According to the study by Suffolk Police Authority, which combines data in a way never done before:

Up to 35 per cent of all crime is related to drugs, including theft and burglary to fund habits;

More than 8,000 people in Suffolk a year are victims of drug related crime;

Suffolk has at least 600 class A drug dealers, at a conservative estimate;

Only seven other counties in the country have more recorded drug trafficking than Suffolk;

Most Read

The force has recorded 11,500 claims of drugs offences, such as drug taking or dealing since October 2005.

Chief Constable Alistair McWhirter said: “The use of illegal drugs has a devastating effect upon the vulnerable people who become addicted to them and this, in turn, has a destructive impact upon our communities as addicts are often forced to commit a great deal of crime to fund their habits.”

Although the paper cites Suffolk as eighth from bottom in national rankings for levels of drug trafficking Ch Con McWhirter said this can be viewed positively as high levels suggest high detection of crimes which may otherwise go unrecorded.

He said: “Suffolk Constabulary is committed to tackling the trafficking of illegal drugs.

“Targeting those who supply class A drugs has been a priority of Suffolk Constabulary for a number of years. During June, Operation Crackdown ran across the whole of the county, officers executed intelligence-led warrants at addresses and made 153 arrests.”

The force recognises it is difficult to know the real extent of drugs activity in the county because crime figures alone may not be realistic.

Since October 2005 there have been 326 serious drugs offences recorded and 1,387 other drugs offences but there has been 11,500 intelligence logs suggesting drug activity.

This compares with 1,509 domestic burglaries and 1,650 intelligence logs linked to that crime.

Weblink: www.suffolk.police.uk

Have you been a victim of drug related crime? Do the figures surprise you? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

A LEADING Ipswich drugs counsellor today said the figures released in the police report did not surprise him.

Brian Tobin, leader of the Iceni Project, said there was an estimated 4,400 drug users in Suffolk and many of them would commit crime to feed their habits.

He said: “Out of the 200 clients we see every year, three-quarters of them have committed offences to pay their drugs and one of the main elements of my job is to stop reoffending.

“Statistics say the average person would need £20,000 a year to sustain a habit and I would say that three out of four burglaries to houses are drug related.”

He said the police had an impossible task in trying to stop drug use and called for a more broad based approach to tackle drug use and its resulting crime.

Mr Tobin added: “We need to accept and deal with it in a more proactive way rather than just treatment and policing - we can't do everything - we need the communities and Neighbourhood Watch to get together more and stop being afraid of them (drug users) because this affects all of our lives.

“Drugs are a menace.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter