Chief Constable: We are not out of the woods on Covid, act responsibly

Face mask sign

Face masks are no longer a legal requirement from July 19 - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Today is the so called “freedom day” and I wanted to start by saying a big thank you to everyone for what has been a very difficult 18 months.  

The pandemic has seen the communities of Suffolk pulling together and working hard to protect themselves and each other. I have been really grateful for the support my officers and staff have received over the past 18 months and particularly wanted to thank you all for adhering to the regulations. In the majority of cases we have been able to engage, explain and educate people.

Of course, there have been occasions where we have had to use our powers of enforcement and issue tickets, but these have been for blatant disregard of the regulations, where people failed to act responsibly and in line with Government guidance. 

With increasing infection rates, it is evident we are not yet out of the woods, but if we continue to work together and act responsibly and carefully, we can continue to beat this terrible virus.

My ask of you is that you think carefully about what you do when restrictions ease and that you take things slowly and carefully. Let’s do what we can to continue to ensure Suffolk is a safe and enjoyable place in which to live.

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Like many things last year the pandemic saw the cancellation of nearly all summer music festivals, but this week the Latitude festival returns to Suffolk.

The Constabulary has been part of the festival since it started and we play an important part, working with the organisers and our other partners to keep all those in attendance safe.  A really key part of our involvement is the planning - we use policing commanders with training and experience in public safety operations to identify and consider all of the things that policing might need to get involved in.

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The festival becomes a town larger than Bury St Edmunds over the weekend so it’s not a matter of us just turning up for the weekend, an event like Latitude will involve four to six months of detailed planned development so when we are at the site we are prepared for all eventualities.

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp said police involvement had been balanced to date. P

Chief Constable Steve Jupp - Credit: Rachel Edge

For all those attending, I do hope you have a great time and enjoy all the variety of entertainment Latitude offers.  

So, like many of us, I was sad that the Euro 2020 dream ended without an England victory but as well as being proud of the England squad we are also proud of our communities who enjoyed this historic sporting event in a sensible and community-spirited manner.  As I have said planning is important in so much of policing and the Euros were no exception to this. 

We looked at the profiles of all the games and, in particular, the path that England might follow and then ensured we had the right resources on duty to support fans to have a safe and enjoyable experience. The huge majority of fans were really well behaved and supported the national team all the way through the tournament.

There are always a small number of individuals who can’t behave and let themselves and their team down but we had the right resources in the right place to deal with them. The final was really busy as we had expected it to be, despite the disappointment of the result, and again the majority behaved impeccably.  And on the subject of football, with the new football season just around the corner, I am looking forward to meeting with the chairman and CEO of Ipswich Town Football Club along with the Police & Crime Commissioner in the near future.  I do wish the club the very best of luck for the season and, hopefully, promotion to the Championship.

Finally, this week the Constabulary is taking part in a national week of action to continue its efforts to tackle the blight of anti-social behaviour.  National ASB Awareness Week is running from today to 25th July and we will be making a collective effort to crack down on the issue.    

A key element of the week will be the launch of the new county-wide approach to Community Triggers that is designed to support the victims of ASB and ensure they get the right outcome.  If you have already reported ongoing ASB to either the police, the district/borough council or your housing provider and you feel that the agencies involved have not taken suitable action to resolve it, you can activate the Community Trigger.  

This has been designed to give victims of ongoing ASB the right to request a review of their case and bring agencies together to take a joined up, problem solving approach to find a solution. Bodies who will undertake the case review are councils, police, clinical commissioning groups, and registered providers of social housing.  More details of the Community Trigger can be found on the Suffolk police website.  

We also have plans for ‘street meets’ with local officers and partner agencies, leaflet drops, and visits to schools to discuss the issue with pupils and students to emphasise the importance of being respectful and remind them what constitutes ASB. I know that ASB can affect all members of the community and includes a wide spectrum of issues such as noise, motoring offences, graffiti, fly tipping, street drinking and nuisance neighbours. The Constabulary takes ASB issues seriously and, where necessary, we will take robust action when we need to as we do understand the dramatic and detrimental impact ASB has.

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