Suffolk rejects Labour claims of no funds to tackle gangs in Ipswich

Jubilee Park in Ipswich is one of the areas affected by gang problems. Picture: ARCHANT

Jubilee Park in Ipswich is one of the areas affected by gang problems. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Claims that Suffolk County Council is failing to do enough to combat gangs on the streets of Ipswich have been firmly denied by the Tory-run authority.

Labour members condemned the council, saying there is no money set aside in the budget to implement the recommendations of a report aimed at resolving the County Lines and gang violence issues that have beset Ipswich.

Labour leader Sandra Gage said: “It is unacceptable that there is no mention of a budget in the 2018/19 budget to resolve the damaging issues caused by drug dealing and sexual violence on the streets of Ipswich.

“This budget does nothing to implement the action plan currently being developed with Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk Police.

“This administration needs to take this issue seriously and have the plans and funding in place for 2018/19 to tackle young people being drawn into drug trafficking and use. This inaction shows a lack of foresight by this council to resolve the problem.”

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Ms Gage added: “I will be holding this council to account and will not rest until I know what resources are going to be given to resolve the problem. There needs to be action this year, next year and until the issue is resolved in order to end the scourge of drugs and violence on our streets.”

However cabinet member for Ipswich Paul West said the council had allocated money to help combat the issue – and would be funding a senior manager to help co-ordinate the efforts of the county and borough councils alongside the police to try to combat the gangs.

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He said: “There is £65,000 in the crime reduction programme specifically to work on this programme – and we are working very closely with the borough. I don’t think that (Labour councillors) Alasdair Ross and David Ellesmere feel that we are not taking the issue seriously enough.”

Mr West said it was important that the authorities worked closely together which was why the county had contributed £70,000 to community safety projects in Ipswich over the last year.

He said: “It is very important that we do all we can to make people feel safe in Ipswich. And the county council is working with our partners to play a full role in that.”

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