We need more police officers on our streets – Kesgrave councillors make urgent plea after rise in anti-social behaviour

Woman assaulted in street

Woman assaulted in street - Credit: Archant

Suffolk police has been slammed by Kesgrave councillors for the lack of policing in the town following a spate of anti-social behaviour.

Kesgrave Town Council held an impromptu public meeting following a string of complaints from residents in the Cedarwood area about anti-social behaviour and the lack of provision for young people.

There have been complaints since May regarding misuse of the teen shelter near Wilkinson Drive, including the noise in the evenings, underage smoking and drinking, and unsafe use of mopeds and motorbikes close to Cedarwood Primary School, as well as use of the shelter by those aged 17 and above which it was not allocated for.

Council members are today demanding a greater level of policing to help combat the problem.

Charles Rayworth from Kesgrave Town Council, said: “I think we need to make clear that we expect a much greater police presence.”

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Last month, the Kesgrave and District Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) were forced to relocate after an electrical fire at their Ropes Drive office left them unable to use it for a period of six to eight weeks, and are currently operating from Woodbridge Police Station.

Sally Ogden, chair of Kesgrave Town Council, added: “We wrote to them (Suffolk police) last week saying we were not happy. For them to just completely decamp to Woodbridge I find totally unacceptable.”

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“We wrote to them on the lack of policing, and that we are down on the numbers we are entitled to. We are down one PCSO, and presumably there is a notice period.”

Mrs Ogden did make it clear that senior figures in the police force had agreed to meet councillors next week to address the problem.

She added: “The police inspector has agreed to come out next week, but the level of policing in a town of nearly 15,000 people is unacceptable.”

Sargeant Andrew Buck from Suffolk police, said: “The Kesgrave and District Safer Neighbourhood Team are continuing to police the area as they did before the fire, and we are also utilising the mobile police station, and most days this will be located outside the SNT office of in the Tesco car park.

“We have also put in place an engagement plan to ensure we continue to work closely with the local community, and plans are also being put in place to hold regular surgery sessions with residents.

“It is business as usual, and there has not been a reduction in patrols or staffing as a result of the fire.”

Plans by Suffolk police for tougher enforcement on the proper use of the teen shelter have been welcomed, although details are yet to be finalised.

Among suggestions made in last week’s meeting, which was held at the Millennium Jubilee Hall, Millennium Way, to combat the anti-social behaviour problem were fencing the shelter, key fob access in which users would have to sign an agreement with the council to use it responsibly, leaving street lighting off, moving the shelter to another location, or creating an additional space for people to use.

Taking a vote after public consultation, a proposal to erect fencing and two gates around the shelter, providing it was legally safe to do so, were unanimously voted in favour of, while a proposal to leave lights off until a fence is in place, if it is possible to do so, were voted for with a majority of 10 to two.

An update on progress has been planned for January’s council meeting.

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