37.1. Inspector Horton, Local Policing Inspector for North West Ipswich, provided an update on policing across Ipswich and the specific issues in the North West.
37.2. With regards to policing generally a number of priorities had been identified for Ipswich that centred on the recent incidences of violent crimes and drug issues known as ‘County Lines’. This involved the current issues whereby drug dealers from London were coming to Ipswich and preying on vulnerable members of society. At the previous North West Area Committee meeting, a presentation had been given about the research commissioned in response to the recent increase in gang and drug related violence in Ipswich, and a multiagency action plan was now being developed to consider intervention, prevention and enforcement.
37.3. It was confirmed that since March 2017, following the implementation of the Urban Street Gang Unit, there had been 230 arrests. This included money, drugs and weapons being seized. Many children were involved in these offences and therefore it was a police priority to work with various services to tackle this issue.
37.4. Focus had also been on Domestic Abuse with regards to what the Police could do to safeguard victims and help to identify and arrest prolific offenders.
37.5. It was confirmed that 90% of 999 calls had been received within the target times however, the number of calls had increased by 70% compared to the previous year. Therefore, the police continued to consider how resources could be prioritised in the most appropriate way. The Police and Crime Commissioner had requested extra funding in the budget, due to the challenges that Officers were facing however, no further information could be given at this time. A new project had been initiated called “20-25” which had been put in place to consider plans to deal with the financial shortfall.
37.6. Inspector Horton confirmed that Suffolk Constabulary had been rated “good” following an inspection from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services who inspect the efficiency of police forces nationwide.
37.7. Sgt Curtis reported on the North West of Ipswich and advised that priorities were set monthly to reflect the current changes in the community and where the demand for policing was. The main priority for the North West continued to be the same as the previous month and following the work undertaken in Ulster Avenue, feedback had been received from a resident about how this had improved their quality of life.
37.8. Criminal damage had reduced in Whitehouse Skate Park and patrols had been increased both in the day and overnight. Although needle finds in the park had reduced cannabis use remained an issue and this matter would be incorporated into patrols priorities. High visibility policing continued and work continued behind the scenes to identify and target where drugs were being sought.
37.9. Officers had been issued with handheld devices so that information could be accessed whilst on patrol including the ability to take statements, photos and input crimes so that more time could be spent out in the local area or with victims.
37.10. Allotment thefts continued to be an Ipswich wide issue and work was being undertaken to consider the ways this could be prevented including the use of cameras. Keys to the allotments had also been provided to officers so that overnight patrols could be increased.
37.11. It was confirmed that cybercrime remained an issue and there had been some crimes related to this within Ipswich and the police continued to assist victims. With regards to issues at Chatsworth Drive these were being dealt with and this would be reported on further at a following meeting.
37.12. A resident asked for further information around the wait times for the 101 non-emergency police number. The Inspector reported that this had been the number one issue raised at the Police & Crime Commissioner forums around the County and an investment had been made in new technology to tackle this issue which would be rolled out in 2018.