Drop in alcohol-related attacks at night in Suffolk

ALCOHOL-related violence at night has reduced by between 5pc and 15pc in the county's three major towns, according to Suffolk Constabulary figures.

Police said the reduction is the result of a three-year campaign to tackle the issue.

Since the creation of three action groups, attacks linked to alcohol in Ipswich have decreased from 395 to 342 - a drop of 13pc - from January to October 2009 compared to the same period this year.

Offences in Lowestoft show a 15pc reduction from 210 to 178, and in Newmarket booze-related assaults decreased by 5pc from 107 to 102.

In 2007/08, police, borough and district councils, Suffolk County Council, NHS Suffolk, Waveney and Great Yarmouth Primary Care Trust identified assaults in public linked to alcohol was an area of concern.

Almost half of the county's offences occur in Newmarket, Ipswich and Lowestoft, where various strategies were implemented to improve night-time environments and encourage families to come back into towns.

Suffolk Police Authority provided additional funding to create a night-time economy team which was dedicated to reducing violence.

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Partner organisations introduced various initiatives such as medical treatment centres and town pastors schemes which have developed to provide assistance to communities within town centres.

A dedicated SOS bus is in operation across west Suffolk and undercover operations have taken place by trading standards officers in a bid to prevent alcohol sales to under-age youngsters.

Suffolk Police's Chief Superintendent Mark Cordell, chairman of the countywide multi-agency action group, said: 'The statistics were very revealing, even to us.

'There was this view, held by many and for a long time, that those who were carrying out the offending were travelling to Suffolk and returning to their homes outside the county.

'However, it is apparent that residents are the ones committing the offences in their own town and on their own doorstep.'

'Our overall, underlying message to all is stay safe, drink sensibly, stay with friends and get home safely.'