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Suffolk: Police pledge as more than 20 organised gangs linked to criminal activities in county

PUBLISHED: 11:58 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:59 21 January 2014

Police believe 20 criminal gangs are active in Suffolk

Police believe 20 criminal gangs are active in Suffolk

More than 20 organised gangs are understood to be linked to criminal activities in Suffolk.

However, although police would not confirm specific numbers, a senior Suffolk Constabulary officer stressed the numbers do fluctuate heavily.

His comments came after the county’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore spoke at a breakfast meeting at the Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce about organised crime.

During the meeting Mr Passmore said there were 35 organised crime gangs which police were aware of operating in Suffolk.

He later confirmed that figure was based on information he was given during September or October last year.

Detective Superintendent Simon Parkes, head of the organised unit for Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies, said the current number was considerably less than 35.

However, he declined to say how many there were as police forces protocols across the country do not reveal figures.

Some of the groups have come into Suffolk from neighbouring counties, or abroad. Others are from London, and some are based in the county. It is understood more than 20 are currently on police radar.

Their activities will typically range from lower level crimes such as shoplifting to burglary, drugs and people trafficking.

Det Supt Parkes said: “The numbers do heavily fluctuate. We have far fewer than 35. The number of crime gangs we consider to be criminally active is a lot smaller number.

“We have had considerable success against a number of those, some of which are waiting to go through the judicial process.

“What we don’t see in Suffolk is the levels of violence, threats and intimidation on a regular basis from serious and organised crime.

“The range of action we take is proportionate to the threat they pose. Some groups may simply be subject to police officers understanding which vehicles they currently own and whether they have come into money they shouldn’t have, while some will be subject to more proactive policing.

“The ones we focus on within our figures tend to be domiciled in Suffolk, but we do have groups who come into the county and will travel through the county within their offending.”

Mr Passmore added: “I know Suffolk is one of the lowest areas in the country for activities involving organised crime. Home Office figures have indicated there were somewhere in excess of 5,000 gangs in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“We will not reduce our commitment one iota in working to combat the threat of organised crime.”

Stowmarket Road in Great Blakenham was closed on Saturday night after a car left the road and crashed into a house.

Police have named the van driver who died in an accident on the Orwell Bridge on Friday as 67-year-old Michael (Mick) Rayner from Essex.

A new customer service office has opened in Sudbury as Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils prepare to move their main operations to Ipswich where they will share Suffolk’s Endeavour House headquarters.

Road crews from Highways England will be working at the following sites on East Anglia’s busiest roads over the next week – so this is where drivers can expect to find delays:

Colchester MP Will Quince was visibly moved as the House of Commons passed a new law giving parents the right to compassionate leave from work after suffering the tragedy of stillbirth.

The snooker area at Bears Pool & Snooker Club in Ipswich has now opened following the venue relaunch this summer.

A primary school student is counting down the days until the Bury St Edmunds Round Table fireworks display after winning an artwork competition to be the VIP.

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