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Town safety patrols row

PUBLISHED: 12:50 23 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:54 03 March 2010

PRIME minister Tony Blair has backed calls for more community safety officers to put on the streets of Ipswich.

But Conservatives in the town have hit out the level of policing - claiming there isn't enough money to fund enough officers for a large urban centre.

PRIME minister Tony Blair has backed calls for more community safety officers to put on the streets of Ipswich.

But Conservatives in the town have hit out the level of policing – claiming there isn't enough money to fund enough officers for a large urban centre.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole asked Mr Blair about an £85,000 grant provided by the government for Suffolk police to introduce community safety officers during prime minister's questions in the House of Commons.

"I'm keen for these to operate in Ipswich, because a third of all the crime in Suffolk is committed within the borough," Mr Mole told The Evening Star.

"The prime minister gave no firm views on exactly where the money should be spent – but then I never expected him to.

"But he did make it clear that it was designed to help in areas like Ipswich," Mr Mole said.

But leading Tory Paul West was dismissive of the proposed community safety officers whose job would be to support the police.

"There are only a maximum of eleven police officers on duty at any one time in Ipswich," he said.  "Why are no measures being taken to increase this unacceptably low number?"

And he felt Ipswich police station should have better equipment.

"Officers have to manually take fingerprints from detainees who are charged by rolling an ink roller on their hands and pressing each finger on to the relevant box on the form.

"This clumsy process takes twenty minutes. Many police stations have scanning technology to carry out this task out in a flash – why not Ipswich?"

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