Crackdown on booze-fuelled crime

OFFENDERS could be spending Christmas behind bars after police launched a tough new crime crackdown in the wake of rising violence in west Suffolk.The clampdown has been ordered after figures showed reported incidents had risen by more than 300 during the past six months of the year compared with the same period in 2002.

OFFENDERS could be spending Christmas behind bars after police launched a tough new crime crackdown in the wake of rising violence in west Suffolk.

The clampdown has been ordered after figures showed reported incidents had risen by more than 300 during the past six months of the year compared with the same period in 2002.

In response, bosses have pledged revellers will see an increase in high visibility patrols as police prepare for an expected busy period over Christmas and the New Year.

And Supt Mark Cordell, operations manager for Suffolk police, issued a stark warning to troublemakers, saying "inappropriate behaviour" would not be tolerated. He added he was hopeful the latest initiative would ease the problem.


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"If people choose to come into our towns over the Christmas period and act inappropriately, it will not be tolerated and they will be dealt with firmly," said Supt Cordell.

"We will not have a problem if they want to spend Christmas Day in the police cells keeping our custody officers company."

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Between April and November of this year, 327 more violent crime offences were recorded in west Suffolk than during the corresponding time in 2002, but Supt Cordell said a number of these were very low level assaults.

He added that 201 of these offences were committed in a public place.

"We are disappointed with the figures and it is frustrating," continued Supt Cordell. "But we will be targeting nightspots in short, sharp spurts and we are confident we can put a dent in the figures.

"The large proportion of violent crimes are drink related and in west Suffolk there are a number of vibrant night time economies, particularly in Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

"This is good because it brings income into the community but there is also a downside. Not everyone visiting the towns in the evening act as you might expect."

Funded by a special Suffolk Constabulary budget used to address performance problems, the scheme will run from Christmas Eve and into the New Year.

A zero-tolerance campaign against alcohol-related violence took place in west Suffolk in September after a revealing study showed more than 80% of crimes were fuelled by booze.

Supt Cordell said that figures had shown the initiative, part of Operation Liberate, had led to a 25% reduction in such crimes in Bury St Edmunds and a massive 50% in Newmarket.

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