Suffolk: Crime rate at leisure centres revealed

Leisure centre crimes revealed.

Leisure centre crimes revealed. - Credit: Archant

MORE than 350 crimes took place at Suffolk swimming pools and leisure centres in the last four years, new figures show.

Police recorded 355 crimes, including sexual and drug offences, across the county between 2009 and 2012 – 109 at swimming pools and 246 at leisure centres.

The figures, revealed under Freedom of Information laws, revealed there were 25 sexual offences – 15 classed as serious – 20 cases of violence and 236 cases of burglary or theft.

There were also 36 cases of criminal damage, 13 cases of public order and harassment, four drug offences, four fraud and forgery offences and two cases of arson.

At Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, there were 34 crimes, including 24 thefts and two serious sexual offences in 2011, while Haverhill Leisure Centre crimes totalled 20 over the same four-year period.

There were six crimes – including a serious sex offence in 2010 – at Mildenhall Swimming Centre and 22 crimes at Newmarket Sport and Leisure centres, including two serious sexual offences.

Warren Smyth, joint chief executive of Abbeycroft Leisure and Anglia Community Leisure Trusts, which runs council-owned swimming and leisure facilities in west Suffolk, said: “We have a range of security measures in place at the different venues, which means we can often provide useful evidence to police when they investigate the extremely small number of crimes.

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“We always advise customers to take care of their belongings, support them in any way we can if they need to report a crime to police, and endeavour to learn from each incident so we can try to prevent future recurrences.”

At Crown Pools in Ipswich, there were 53 crimes between 2009-12, including seven serious sexual offences and two other sexual offences, plus four harassment and 35 theft crimes.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We try to ensure that Crown Pools and our sports facilities are as safe as possible and, while our staff are always vigilant, we urge customers to look after their belongings to deter opportunist crime.”

Felixstowe Leisure Centre saw 29 crimes, including two serious sexual offences in 2011 and one in 2012, plus 12 thefts.

A Suffolk Coastal council spokesman said: “DC Leisure, who manage Felixstowe Leisure Centre (FLC) on this council’s behalf, has tried and trusted policies to prevent and deal with any criminal incidents within the building.”

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