U.S. military police patrol town

AMERICAN military police have been drafted in to help prevent incidents of drunken anti-social behaviour towards U.S. service personnel in Suffolk's nightclubbing capital.

AMERICAN military police have been drafted in to help prevent incidents of drunken anti-social behaviour towards U.S. service personnel in Suffolk's nightclubbing capital.

Two unarmed officers from RAF Lakenheath first joined beat officers from Suffolk Police in March to patrol Newmarket town centre during Friday and Saturday nights - when around 2,000 clubbers flock to the historic town to enjoy its nightlife.

The project began in conjunction with the build-up to war in Iraq, and was designed to alleviate any tensions directed towards American service personnel, and their families, as opposition to the conflict grew.

And Insp Steve Brown, Newmarket sector commander, said the patrols had proved a success, with no incidents of disorder recorded against American clubbers since the project began.


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“With the build up to the war in Iraq, we were aware of the anti-war feelings across the country,” said Insp Brown. “There was nothing specific in Newmarket, but we did sense feeling were running a little bit high, which may have expressed itself in some form of public disorder.

“We were anxious to ensure we did not become embroiled in that, so we spoke to the USAF, who agreed to the joint patrols as a preventative measure.”

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During the patrols, which began on March 14, one USAF officer is paired with a member of Suffolk Constabulary to walk the streets, providing reassurance to the public through a visible police presence.

It is anticipated the project will continue for the next few weeks.

“Although the military police are in uniform, they do not have the powers of British police, and are not armed,” continued Insp Brown.

“They have been received very positively, and everyone has welcomed and appreciated their presence on the streets.

“It has provided reassurance to both the Americans and our own community that we are here, and has underlined our responsibility to maintaining law and order.”

RAF Lakenheath spokesman Tech Sgt Dean Miller also hailed the patrols a success.

“Our folks have no jurisdiction over UK citizens, so we are there to help U.S. forces and their families as we conduct these joint patrols,” he said.

“It is a preventative measure against any possible disruption in the town centre at the weekends.

“Newmarket is a popular venue for Americans and their families, and these patrols have helped ensure the safety of everyone.”

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