Violent crime falls in West Suffolk

VIOLENT crime has fallen significantly across west Suffolk since a zero-tolerance campaign was launched to stamp-out alcohol fuelled disturbances.Suffolk police have revealed public order offences have fallen at targeted hot spots in Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket during the month-long initiative, which ended last weekend.

VIOLENT crime has fallen significantly across west Suffolk since a zero-tolerance campaign was launched to stamp-out alcohol fuelled disturbances.

Suffolk police have revealed public order offences have fallen at targeted hot spots in Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket during the month-long initiative, which ended last weekend.

Extra officers were drafted in during the campaign, which was launched at the beginning of September after a study found 81% of all attacks in the three towns were linked to alcohol abuse.

Officers are now hailing the scheme a major success and say the presence of extra police on the streets and the force helicopter overhead have proved to be a major tool in the fight against rising public disorder offences.


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Figures show that in Newmarket alone reports of disorder fell by 50% during September, down from the average monthly 64 reports to 32.

During the campaign officers concentrated on known violence hot spots in all three towns, and offences and reported offences dropped significantly in all the targeted areas.

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Over the four weekends of the initiative the police received just 38 reports of disorder in the hot spot areas, compared to a total of 82 in other areas of the towns – marking a dramatic reduction in violent crime in the most troubled areas.

Chief Insp Mike Gooch, based at Bury St Edmunds, said: "We targeted certain areas in the three towns that are usually the most troublesome and the initiative has had a major impact on reducing the number of offences in those areas.

"The main reason for this is more officers in the known trouble areas, particularly on foot. We have also been able to bring in additional resources, such as the force helicopter, a support team and vans with video cameras on them.

"The deployment of resources concentrated in this way has had a significant impact. Clearly a visible police presence does work as a deterrent."

The initiative was part of the force's ongoing Operation Liberate, and another objective is to persuade clubbers and pub-goers to drink less.

Officers have also been working in partnership with venues in the towns, asking landlords to refuse to serve those who have already drunk too much alcohol and to let the police know of likely troublemakers.

Although the zero-tolerance initiative is at an end officers say it could be re-introduced at any time to tackle known trouble spots.

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