Suffolk: Fear of copycat riots ends up costing Suffolk Constabulary �115,000

SUFFOLK: Fears of copycat riots similar to those which broke out across England in August landed Suffolk Constabulary with a �115,000 bill.

Today, the cash-strapped force said it has had to fork out �115,313 for what it describes as “national public disorder assistance” while trouble was happening elsewhere.

The additional cost to the force comes at a time when the constabulary is having to save �13.6million from its budget, as well as shedding 300 jobs, over a four-year period.

However, given the level of violence in cities such as London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool, police in the county felt they could not take any chances if disorder broke out in Suffolk towns.

Officers were called in for extra duties and extra payments had to be authorised.

At one stage during the problems nationally, there were concerns that there could be pockets of trouble breaking out in Suffolk.

On one night in particular a group of young men were corralled by police in Ipswich’s Tacket Street car park after the atmosphere was said to have turned nasty.

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In addition to flooding the streets with officers and maintaining a high-profile presence, the constabulary was also asked to provide help elsewhere.

Riot-trained officers were sent to support colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Constabulary.

It is understood the cost involved in this assistance will not be borne by Suffolk Constabulary.

However, it will have to find the money for the extra manpower and patrols it required in the county. Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for the force, said: “Our main priority while public disorder incidents were taking place across the country was to reassure our communities that we had sufficient police officers in place to maintain a high-profile presence whilst at the same time assisting other forces.”

n Do you think the punishments being given to rioters across the county are fair? E-mail or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.