Agenda item

Responses to Public Questions Received and Open Discussion on Local Issues

(a)          Police Priorities

Minutes:

60.1.     The Chair introduced Inspector Vicky McParland of the Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), who provided the following policing updates:

60.2.     The Ipswich Central SNT was based on Museum Street and this office was open Monday to Saturday.  PC Dominic Woodmansee was the Police Community Engagement Officer for Central Ipswich and represented the Police out in the community at schools, outreach centres and on the Cornhill, and could be contacted in relation to non-urgent community matters by emailing: CEOipcentral@Suffolk.pnn.police.uk.

60.3.     Inspector McParland reassured the public that the two recent serious crimes in the town centre were isolated incidents and arrests had been made in relation to these offences. The current SNT resource allocation was 3 Sergeants and 12 PCs; however, only 6 of these PCs were currently available, so it was not possible to allocate resource to the ticketing of vehicles illegally entering restricted areas of the town centre.

60.4.     For non-urgent incidents, the Police could be contacted by calling 101 or through the website: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something, or alternatively, through the Central Ipswich ward Councillors who have a good relationship with the Ipswich Central SNT.

60.5.     Performance Data:  Across the Southern Area, which included Hadleigh and Felixstowe, there had been a reduction in theft from vehicles; two Police Link Officers had carried out a crime prevention exercise of trying the door handles of 695 vehicles, of which 40 were unlocked and 17 had valuable items on display inside.  There had also been an 18% drop in the number of residential burglaries, and similarly some of these incidents had been as a result of doors not being locked.

60.6.     Despite the two recent serious incidents, Suffolk was ranked 6th out of 8 similar Police forces for knife crime.  Inspector McParland reiterated the importance of people reporting incidents to ensure that resource could be allocated to target priorities.

60.7.     Councillor Rae asked whether the drop in the number of burglaries was because the number of incidents had fallen or whether people were not reporting crimes.  Inspector McParland reported that the performance data was based on reported crimes and was a 12-month comparison, and stressed the importance of people reporting incidents.

60.8.     Councillor Cook commented on the cut in Police Officers in recent years and highlighted that the SNT was currently missing 40% of its Officers.  Inspector McParland commented that resource levels were being addressed, with 20,000 additional Officers across the country, but it would take time to get this additional resource in place. Officers were allocated across the SNTs and the Response Unit based at Landmark House, but there was a ‘One Team’ ethos across the force with the flexibility to deploy Officers across teams to meet priorities and other initiatives.

60.9.     Councillor T Lockington commented that it had been suggested that crimes be reported via the website in light of issues with the 101 service.  Inspector McParland advised that 999 should only be used for emergencies, where a crime was still taking place and there was a threat to personal safety, otherwise 101 could be used to report non-urgent crimes, but there would not be an immediate response; alternatively non-urgent crimes could be also reported through the Suffolk Police website, which also provided links to other agencies and the option to report anonymously to Crimestoppers.

60.10.  Councillor Holmes commented that he had reported a matter via the website and was surprised to receive a call back within a few minutes and asked whether the website was always monitored.  Inspector McParland reported that incidents were graded in terms of ‘threat, harm, risk and vulnerability’; the website was monitored by the Control Room and follow up contact would be made if more information was required or if a matter looked more urgent, whereas the SNT email account was only monitored when staff were in the SNT office, i.e. not 24/7.

60.11.  Local resident: I work with the community based in Norwich Road and have noticed the turnover in Police Officers and was not sure how to get in contact as Officers move on to other posts.  Inspector McParland commented that she herself had been in 4 different posts in recent times; for non-urgent matters, it was best to use the generic email address for the SNT, ipswichcentral.snt@suffolk.pnn.police.uk, or alternatively contact the front desk at the SNT base who could confirm who was in the office at that time.