Ipswich: Police pledge to be tough on yobs as new statistics reveal number of people arrested for being drunk and disorderly

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- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

THE scale of the task facing police in dealing with Ipswich and Suffolk’s night-time economy can today be laid bare.

Figures uncovered in a Star investigation expose the strain on the constabulary’s already stretched resources caused by the actions of drunken yobs.

Now Ipswich’s MP and the county’s new Police and Crime Commissioner are calling for a tougher approach in dealing with irresponsible intoxicated town centre revellers.

Their pledge comes after shocking new statistics revealed that since 2008 7,270 people have been arrested for being drunk and disorderly and for breaking public order laws.

Police estimate hundreds of thousands of pounds of public cash is spent each year to cover the custody costs of those arrested for disorderly conduct.

MP Ben Gummer claimed the behaviour of some drinkers had made people afraid to venture into the town centre after dark.

He said those who are arrested should foot the bill for their antics.

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“I’m the first person to encourage people to have a good time,” he said.

“Going out and drinking is a good thing for people who don’t cause problems for other people.

“However, the problem comes when people get so drunk that they become involved with the police or the ambulance service.

“The cost of the policing of those who have got so drunk for the police and the ambulance service is massive.

“I strongly feel that people who are getting themselves into this state should bear more of the costs of the resources needed to manage them.”

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, said officers will be taking a “tougher approach” in dealing with those committing offences.

He said: “People are going into the town centre and getting intoxicated and not behaving themselves – and that isn’t acceptable.

“The cost of covering custody provisions in Suffolk between 2011 and 2012 was £6million.

“Clearly all those people aren’t just being arrested for being drunk and disorderly, but a proportion of them will be. That is money that could be used elsewhere.

“I believe that people arrested for these crimes should be fined more than the Fixed Penalty Notice they are issued with.”

Mr Passmore said he believed a “multi-agency approach” was needed to tackle the issues of excessive drinking. He said it was the responsibility of bars, parents, the police and the drinkers.

On a Friday and Saturday night, five times the usual number of officers is required in Ipswich, he said.

Tackling the issue would attract more people to Suffolk and ensure people living in the town were not afraid to go into the town centre after dark, Mr Passmore added.

He said he believed the borough council’s commitment to increasing CCTV in the town was a way of preventing crimes and would help to deal with incidents quickly. And he said the possible introduction of police “body cams” – cameras which form part of an officers’ uniform – would help to ensure sentences reflect crimes because they could provide evidence which could be used in court.

n What do you think can be down to tackle the number of people arrested for being drunk and disorderly? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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