Police crackdown on football hooligans

By Jenni DixonMORE police officers will be patrolling the streets of towns in north and east Suffolk in an effort to cope with any football hooliganism during Euro 2004.

By Jenni Dixon

MORE police officers will be patrolling the streets of towns in north and east Suffolk in an effort to cope with any football hooliganism during Euro 2004.

Lowestoft, Beccles, Leiston, Woodbridge and Felixstowe will experience an influx of officers over the next two weekends as the county's police launch their Nightsafe campaign early to coincide with the football tournament.

There will be additional uniformed and plain-clothed officers on patrol in the towns on June 17 to 19 and on June 24 to 26.


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The summer scheme - which works with pubs, clubs, councils and residents to tackle night-time violence, damage and disorder - has already been successfully used in Lowestoft and Felixstowe.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Aves, of Suffolk police, said there had only been a handful of arrests following England's defeat at the hands of France on Sunday and he wanted to keep any more disorder to a minimum.

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“We want people to enjoy a good-natured, happy and safe night out. With the football on, we know emotions will be running high, but we want to encourage a friendly and sociable atmosphere without violence, disorder or anti-social behaviour,” he added.

“Extra officers will be out on high-visibility patrols to deter this kind of incident and to catch anyone who thinks they can get away with it.

“We want pub and clubgoers to be safe and have fun, while minimising disturbance to local residents and these two weekends will focus our attention on these areas.”

In Lowestoft, under the Nightsafe campaign, there will also be two Nighthawk weekends - a scheme usually run in the resort during the summer and at Christmas - where patrols focus on pubs, bars and nightclubs to try to prevent violence and to reassure the public.

Chief Inspector Ian Sidney, of Lowestoft police, said: “The Government is looking to extend the licensing hours, but we now have draconian powers which we will use to close down pubs if necessary.”

n Inspector Paul Sharp has been appointed to oversee policing in the south of Lowestoft following a shake-up in the eastern sector's organisation.

Insp Sharp, 33, who lives in Lowestoft, said: “I'm looking forward to it - it's been nearly four years since I was last working in the town.

“I know a few people here in the police and the community and partner agencies and, hopefully, we can improve things.”

jenni.dixon@eadt.co.uk

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