County's worst criminals are targeted

A HARD-hitting police operation targeting Suffolk's most prolific criminals has been launched to crackdown on drug, burglary and car crime.Operation Endurance is being spearheaded by Suffolk police and other crime agencies to rid the streets of repeat offenders responsible for a large proportion of offences across the county.

By Danielle Nuttall

A HARD-hitting police operation targeting Suffolk's most prolific criminals has been launched to crackdown on drug, burglary and car crime.

Operation Endurance is being spearheaded by Suffolk police and other crime agencies to rid the streets of repeat offenders responsible for a large proportion of offences across the county.

A list of 300 persistent offenders has been drawn up using special criteria including intelligence, previous convictions, and arrests.


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The long-term operation will involve intelligence-led policing, with information being gathered from informants and members of the public.

Officers in many cases will also visit or write - even sending Christmas and Easter cards - to those on the list warning them their activities are being monitored.

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Police say crack cocaine and heroin problems in Ipswich and other larger towns lead to users committing huge amounts of crime in a relatively short space of time just to feed their habits.

Some of these offenders can commit more than 12 shoplifting offences in a day, or break into 12 cars in one night, while others burgle more than ten properties in two weeks.

Det Supt Stewart Gull, who is overseeing the operation, said: "There are a small number of offenders who have the greatest impact on local crime

"It's not uncommon for us to be able to identify in parts of the town those who are doing the cars on a Friday night, or a proportion of the burglaries. Because of the way the premises have been broken into, the property stolen, you can detect whether you are looking for the same offender.

"One of the biggest areas is in relation to those individuals who get caught up using drugs.

"We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of pounds a day that these individuals will need to generate in order to buy drugs to feed their habit.

"As far as drug related crime goes, it's relative to the size of the community. It's more acute in Ipswich then it would in a another small village but no area is untouched."

Det Supt Gull said there were no particular hot spots being targeted, and added the force's 1,300 officers would all be involved in Operation Endurance in every area of the county.

"There are problems with burglary, vehicle crime and criminal damage across the county. The bigger the town, the bigger the problem," he said.

"Intelligence and information is the life blood of the police service. It might be from a registered informant but it might be from a family living in the community.

"Some times we may go and visit the offender and tell them we know they are actively involved in crime.

"The clear message is Suffolk does remain one of the safest places in the UK to live. Levels of crime in Suffolk are extremely low.

"By putting resources into targeting these people, we can have a greater impact on reducing crime in the county and, by doing so, improve local people's quality of life - aims which form a central part of Suffolk First, the campaign to make the county the safest in the country."

Home Office data suggests that at any one time, 10% of offenders will be committing half of all serious crime.

The operation coincides with a plan produced by the Suffolk Local Criminal Justice Board, an organisation established last year to provide a better criminal justice system in the county.

The action plan has key aims including ensuring that all persistent offenders are dealt with as a priority and within specific target times.

Other agencies involved in targeting persistent offenders are the Crown Prosecution Service, the Probation Service and the Suffolk County Arrest Referral Scheme (SCARS) which helps those who end up in police custody to gain access to treatment programmes for drug addiction.

Suffolk's Chief Prosecutor and head of the Local Criminal Justice Board Chris Yule added: "This operation is an example of the new approach to joined up working that will take the most prolific criminals off our streets, making Suffolk a much safer place in which to live.

"My CPS lawyers will be providing advice at an early stage to ensure that arrests are followed by well-conducted prosecutions."

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