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Yob crackdown welcomed

PUBLISHED: 15:46 19 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

TOWNS across East Anglia are hoping to follow the lead of a groundbreaking policing project in Ipswich to combat anti-social behaviour.

As reported in the Evening Star last week, the community reassurance team, being spearheaded by Suffolk police, aims to crackdown on crime and disorder in the Gainsborough, Holywells and Priory Heath areas of Ipswich.

TOWNS across East Anglia are hoping to follow the lead of a groundbreaking policing project in Ipswich to combat anti-social behaviour.

As reported in the Evening Star last week, the community reassurance team, being spearheaded by Suffolk police, aims to crackdown on crime and disorder in the Gainsborough, Holywells and Priory Heath areas of Ipswich.

It was set up in response to escalating levels of anti-social behaviour and comprises a dedicated group of police officers, special constables, community support officers and council staff.

Police chiefs hope the new project will boost public feelings of safety by returning to "neighbourhood-style policing" with increased visibility.

It is thought if the project is successful in Ipswich, a similar approach could be rolled out to other areas suffering similar problems with anti-social behaviour.

Woodbridge mayor Neil Montgomery said he would welcome a similar approach to target unruly youths in the town.

The town is already taking steps to tackle the problem by developing a project with Suffolk Coastal District Council to build a skateboarding park for youngsters.

"I must say I would welcome it as anything police can do to reassure the public is a good thing. Anything to increase visibility of the police on the streets is bound to reassure," said Mr Montgomery.

Hadleigh mayor Peter Matthews also praised the idea of the project and said it would be an approach that would be welcomed in the town.

"I think from a psychological point of view people like to see police out and about as it gives them a feeling of security. Anything that gives a better understanding of policing for the general public is a good idea," he added.

Chief Superintendent Geoff Munns, Suffolk police's southern area commander, said Ipswich accounted for 30% of Suffolk's crimes and had seen the introduction of a number of initiatives to fight offending, including the arrival in October of community support officers.

In the past seven years, the number of licensed premises in the town has doubled from 67 to 140, bringing with it a surge in alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Munns said: "We are very good at intelligence-led policing, investigating serious crime, taking out local persistent offenders, crack dealers and the like.

"But we do need to get better, together with partner agencies, at targeting those quality of life issues which are important to the well being of local residents."

The new team, which is made up of three community support officers and six police officers, will be based at the Robert Milne Centre in Felixstowe Road and will be assisted by staff from other agencies when needed.

N Do you think this is the right way to tackle anti-social behaviour? Has your life been plagued by it? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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