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County lines and violence among priorities for west Suffolk safety scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:22 24 September 2018

Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Chiefs behind a community safety scheme in west Suffolk have reaffirmed the need to focus on county lines, hate crimes and violence.

The Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership (WSCSP) features councils, police, fire services, health organisations and other public groups coming together to outline a plan to work together and tackle serious concerns.

For 2018/19, the priorities were confirmed as tackling county lines – drug supply activity run from places such as London – reducing violence against women and men (VAWG), curbing hate crimes and protecting those at risk of radicalisation or extremism.

At Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s joint scrutiny committee, the need to focus on those crimes was reaffirmed.

Alastair McCraw, chairman of the joint overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Crime and the threat of crime affects every community and the work of the WSCSP is essential in confronting key issues in the region. It is important that we continue to work together for the good of the whole community.

“The report highlighted some significant information and gave us a better understanding of concerns, such as the county lines operation, the work of VAWG and pressures that our partners face in tackling safety, crime and protection issues.

“There was some eye-opening material with worrying problems, statistics and potential threats, but the committee was able to take great reassurance from the positive work that is being undertaken and the evidence we saw of the real outcomes this work is producing.”

Mr McCraw added that it was important people reported concerns in their community.

Action plans are being established on each of the priorities, although bosses stressed it was not about duplicating areas where individual agencies were already doing work, but instead having an overall plan for the area.

Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s portfolio holder for families and communities said: “West Suffolk remains a low crime area compared to the rest of the UK and while, like any place, has some problems, it is a very safe and attractive area to live.

“A partnership strategy is in place and local partners including youth offending service, police, and West Suffolk councils are working to refine it to reflect the nature of the issues in this area. This is an issue we will collectively continue to work on with our communities.”

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