Agenda item

Police Priorities - South West Ipswich


25.1    Sgt Stuart Curtis updated that there had been reports of anti-social behaviour in the Gibbons Street area and Barnard Square and there had been reports of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour at Downside Close.  A tactical action plan had been put in place at Stone Lodge Lane and Hawthorn Road shops and residents asked to be kept aware of any results at this location.  Newsletters were available which gave details of a Police & Crime Commissioner meeting at 7.00pm at Chantry Academy on 17 October 2017.


25.2    Reports of motorbikes at Bobbits Lane near Belstead Brook had been investigated but with many different ways in and out of the area it was difficult to cut off any exits.


25.3    Councillor P Smart asked if the anti-social behaviour at Downside Close and Gibbon Street was linked to gangs drug dealing and the Officer said that as far as he was aware the gangs dealing drugs were in the Central and South East area of Ipswich.


25.4    A resident mentioned response times to incidents and it was confirmed that these were graded around threat, harm or risk and the Police may not be able to achieve timely responses due to the amount of calls received.      


25.5    Sara Blake, Head of Communities & Partnerships at Suffolk County Council gave a presentation to the Committee about research commissioned in response to the recent increase in gang and drug related violence amongst vulnerable young people in Ipswich.  The issues for Ipswich were local criminal families being supplied with drugs by ‘Second Generation’ London gangs, the taking over ‘cuckoo-ing’ of houses of heroin addicts or vulnerable people and vulnerable children and young people from Ipswich being recruited to drugs run for gangs.  Gangs were also affiliating young women to recruit younger girls for group sexual exploitation and there were wider risks to the health, education, employment opportunities and social inclusion of the young people.  


25.6    Ms Blake confirmed that this was not just an Ipswich issue as it affected up to 70% of the country.  The four key partners, the Police, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and the Suffolk Police & Crime Commissioner had committed to work together as a multi-agency response to produce a strategy which would stop gang-related violence and sexual exploitation of vulnerable children and young people who were involved in trafficking and the distribution of Class A drugs, disrupt the illicit drug distribution networks and neutralise the impact of County Lines drugs trafficking.


25.7    The Partnership response would be to use collective resources to stop gang violence and the involvement of young people in the drugs market, make it easier to access help and to take tough action against those who take advantage of others who undertake criminal activity.  8 dedicated Officers and a Sergeant would help develop a short term plan by the end of September 2017 and a longer term plan would be put in place to deal with underlying drug issues by the end of the year.  The resources needed would be identified and links developed with national and regional partners who could help tackle this issue.  Any information could be forwarded to in confidence to add to the known intelligence and to allow those involved to be better equipped to tackle the problem.


25.8    Councillor Rudkin reported that there was a lack of youth workers to signpost to any activities and Ms Blake said that this had been identified and that Officers from Suffolk County Council were looking at how to commission more youth workers through the voluntary sector.  A resident said that a grant had been obtained by the European funded Opportunities Suffolk project to co-ordinate work such as this through the voluntary sector. Ms Blake said that intervention by reducing or preventing vulnerable young people and education through schools would be part of the multifaceted response of the action plan.  


25.9    A resident said that social deprivation had a huge impact on drug use and decent housing should be provided and Ms Blake said that diversionary opportunities would be suggested and better use of the available resources would be a challenge.  Councillor Fern asked who would be involved with the action plan in relation to education and it was confirmed that both secondary and primary schools would be involved and a youth panel from the pupil referral units had been suggested.  Councillor Fern said that austerity was now having an impact on these issues and the number of PCSO’s had fallen dramatically.  Action and enforcement needed to be taken seriously and Sgt Curtis said that there was a heavy recruitment drive for Police Constables at the moment and whilst resource and austerity were an issue, the dedicated Police Team being put together would be part of the multi-agency team.


25.10  The Chief Executive at IBC said that all key agencies were looking to address these issues but Suffolk County Councillor Abbott expressed concern about where the resource to commission youth workers would come from.  Ms Blake said that it would be about prioritising the available resources and the research alone would allow funding to be applied for. 


25.10  Councillor Grant said that addiction was a health issue and with access to treatment being minimal, funding was difficult to attain.  Ms Blake said that there were specific recommendations in the research which looked at the spectrum of health.  Councillor P Smart said that there were differing needs which needed different support; relationships built, self-esteem raised and peer pressure addressed.  Stronger structures needed to be organised and lessons learnt about the disorganisation of society.


25.11  A resident said that a long term strategy to prevent isolation would be to encourage volunteer and youth groups and Ms Blake said that the action plan would look at having the resource to do this.