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MP warns 'theses are worrying times for Suffolk' after spike in violent crime

PUBLISHED: 16:20 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:38 27 April 2018

The Co-op in Lavenham High Street was targeted in a ram raid. Picture: ARCHANT

The Co-op in Lavenham High Street was targeted in a ram raid. Picture: ARCHANT

An MP has warned "these are worrying times for Suffolk" after a spike in violent crime in the region.

James Cartlidge at Stutton primary school with headteacher Anne Clarke. Picture: Harriet SteerJames Cartlidge at Stutton primary school with headteacher Anne Clarke. Picture: Harriet Steer

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said he was concerned “we may be entering more violent times” while speaking in the House of Commons during a debate on increasing the available punishments for thugs who attack emergency service workers.

Speaking about new crime figures, which saw a 29% rise in violent crime and a 19% increase in overall crime, he said: “I support the bill. It is timely for me ... In Suffolk we have seen of late I am afraid a great spike in assaults on police officers. We had an increase from 193 in 2016 to 281 offences in 2017. A very high increase.

“These are very significant increases that have caused a great deal of concern in the county and in my constituency. When we talk about assaults on police officers this comes at a time when I have been particularly concerned about very obvious increase in violent crime – now confirmed in statistics.

“Just in my constituency over the winter there have been a lot of ram raids particularly on Co-ops and other similar village shops. We had two in the same week in the historic village of Lavenham on cash points – this has been very unsettling for people.

“It seems we may be entering more violent times. What our Police Federation has said is what they want to see from this bill is greater deterrents so the message that is sent out is not just that we condemn these attacks but that if you commit these offences you will suffer the appropriate penalty.”

Suffolk also saw a huge rise in the number of drugs offences with an increase of 28% – nationally the figure fell by 4%. Talking about the influx of drug dealing in rural communities Mr Cartlidge added: “I have been speaking to local police and I asked if there was a link with the growth in county lines, which is the drugs traffic that is starting to hit rural areas coming out of London, because as honourable members will know when the drugs trade becomes more competitive it becomes more violent.

“As drugs gangs fight for territory they tend to mark their territory with a greater use of force and a battle for who is, to be blunt, scarier. We have to raise our deterrents in response to that.”

The bill will now be debated in the Lords.

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