Suffolk police and Ipswich Borough Council report huge decrease in drug crimes around Holywells Park
PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 December 2016
Police officers in Ipswich have said that drug related crimes in Holywells Park have dramatically reduced after a spell earlier this year where businesses reported around five of six deals per day happening in broad daylight.
Since the beginning of the summer holidays, several firms noted an increase in deals taking place around the Myrtle Road entrance.
But figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws revealed that officers were called to no incidents of drug possession in the park in the 12 months up to the end of September.
Ipswich Borough Council’s park rangers reported finding 150 items of drug paraphernalia in the park in September, compared to just two in November.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said that while no emergency calls had been made, those who had raised the issue with the safer neighbourhood team or Ipswich Borough Council would not feature in its reports.
The spokeswoman said that a plan was in place alongside its partner organisations such as Ipswich Borough Council, which had seen measures such as clearing foliage to reduce hiding spots and PCSO patrols in place.
Liz Harsant, Holywells ward councillor at Ipswich Borough Council said: “I think in all fairness the police have done a very good job along with the park rangers in clearing a lot of foliage around the Myrtle Road entrance and that takes away any hiding place.
“If you make it as hard as possible that is going to be where we see improvements, so I feel a little bit more confident now.”
Suffolk police officers said a week of action earlier this month coupled with the patrols is believed to have contributed to a decrease in incidents in the last few weeks.
Now, officers are urging the public to report what they see as soon as possible to continue driving down the issue.
Local Inspector Roger Salmon said: “Drug-related activity continues to be an important part of our daily business.
“It is important that we continue with our high visibility patrols, enforcement operations, and crime reduction strategies.
“We do though require members of the public to report what they see (confidentially via Crimestoppers if required) as often the ability to execute search warrants or target offenders and close drug businesses down relies on this information.”
A borough council spokesman added: “We have noticed a big fall in discarded needles in Holywells Park over the past few weeks but we urge people to remain vigilant and to contact the police if they see anything suspicious in the area or the Cleaner Ipswich Hotline for reporting drug related litter 01473 433000.”