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Yobs targeted on Ipswich estate

PUBLISHED: 22:20 16 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

AN AREA of Ipswich which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour is to become a policing priority area.

Residents in Old Stoke became so tired of the yobs on their estate they took to the streets earlier this year to curb the incidents of criminal damage and harassment.

AN AREA of Ipswich which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour is to become a policing priority area.

Residents in Old Stoke became so tired of the yobs on their estate they took to the streets earlier this year to curb the incidents of criminal damage and harassment.

Today £50,000 has been designated to fight crime and improve community spirit in the neighbourhood.

Darrin Tomkins, Inspector for west Ipswich said: "Much of the project is already set up. The £50,000 from the Home Office will enable us to employ a project manager who will co-ordinate the activities of all the agencies involved."

The area was selected by the Home Office and Police Standards Unit in consultation with Insp Tomkins and other partners.

It was already clear that the PPA would be somewhere in the west of the town when the announcement was made that Ipswich would be given government funding for the initiative last month.

There will now be 27 PPAs across the country tackling the communities concerns on crime, anti-social behaviour social cohesion and environmental issues.

Ipswich's designated area will include sections of bridge ward, running along Wherstead Road to the bridge and from the railway track along Burrell Road. Hillside Primary School and Stoke High School will also be included.

Insp Tomkins said: "The area was chosen because it has a high mortality rate, poor health and some of the people have low self esteem.

"This will improve the level of social cohesion and give the people a sense of pride. Some of them already have pride in where they live which they should have."

Initially a base plan of the area will be drawn up. A visual assessment will take place during the day time and again in the evening. This will provide a basic idea of the issues and problems affecting the area.

The project will last a year after which another visual assessment will take place to determine the success of the project.

Insp Tomkins said: "I went to a conference in Birmingham recently where there was input by a number of people involved in PPAs in the past. Everyone was really positive and various agencies' efforts had seen a real improvement.

"I hope to see a quality of improvement in the lives of people in the area."

In Ipswich the project is likely to include an increased number of community caretakers and community support officers. There will also be work within the two schools although the exact nature of this is no yet known.

Organiser of the Stoke patrols, Marina Keohane welcomed the move today.

She said: "It's great, the sooner the better. With this funding I hope they will do something so the kids get somewhere to go. A lot of the trouble here is because they are bored."

Ms Keohane added there had already been a noticeable improvement in the area with a stronger police presence and police response.

This cohesion between agencies is already evident in Old Stoke with Ms Keohane invited to the conference in Birmingham. She is also about to embark on a community training scheme supported by the government which will qualify her to work within the community.

She said: "Working together has got to be for the good. We are all pulling in different areas - this will get us all pulling the same way.

"Things are definitely changing now, people are a lot happier with the police. The police have been making a show in the area."

N Do you welcome the initiative? 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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