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The coronavirus vaccination and roadmap provides optimism, but stick with the restrictions, says Suffolk's Chief Constable Steve Jupp

March 23 will be the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown announcement.

The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for a lot of people, particularly those who have lost loved ones to the virus. My heart goes out to families who have been deeply affected.

There is now cause for optimism with the vaccination roll-programme going so well. However, we need to guard against complacency and understand that, while the government has set out its phased roadmap for a return to a more normalised way of living , we still need to protect ourselves, our families and the NHS by abiding by whatever restrictions are in place.

Steve Jupp
Steve Jupp

Throughout the last year Suffolk’s police officers have tried to strike the right balance between encouraging people to stay within those rules and enforcing them more rigorously where there are flagrant breaches. Be assured, we will continue to do that.

I really urge you to continue playing your part by doing the right thing, as the vast majority of Suffolk has done over the last 12 months.

This month the West Suffolk policing teams have been proactively tackling drugs and the associated negative impacts on our communities.

At the beginning of February we saw the implementation of the local drugs intensification week led by Acting Sergeant Rowan Saunders. Numerous tactics were utilised during this period including the execution of a warrant in Haverhill where Class B drugs were recovered and also an intelligence led disruption visit that resulted in the arrest of a London-based male on suspicion of being concerned in class A drugs supply and money laundering.

In Sudbury, enforcement tackling local drug dealing saw a vehicle stopped and people detained in possession of drugs that were seized. Officers continue to utilise stop search powers based on intelligence to combat drug activity and make the town safer.

Stowmarket Safer Neighbourhood Teams have been engaging with those who are potentially vulnerable to drugs exploitation in Stowmarket and Needham Market. This has included a number of really positive disruption visits, reassurance, detection of drugs possession and supply offences.

The work has continued with the assistance of the Kestrel team engaging with youths in Stowmarket Town Centre who might be vulnerable to drugs supply and exploitation.

The Kestrel team were also deployed in Mildenhall to assist the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team in engaging with public in area of Icewell Hill Flats in relation to concerns around anti-social behaviour and drug usage, providing important reassurance and support for the local residents.

Additionally, on March 1, Bury St Edmunds Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Kestrel Team led a modern-day slavery operation targeting registered homes of multiple occupancy in the town.

Officers engaged with landlords and tenants, providing support and information to all concerned across multiple premises.

Positive feedback was received from those engaged with and no offences were highlighted.

As lockdown restrictions ease over the coming months west area policing teams will be working hard with our partners and the community to ensure that we can all return to a more normal way of life in a safe and secure manner.

Finally, on Monday last week we all recognised International Women’s Day.

Here in the constabulary we have worked really hard to ensure we get the right balance, and will continue to do more. Our female recruitment currently sits at 47.4 per cent year to date compared to a three-year average of 40.4 per cent, so a positive increase and above the national average.

Whilst this is very positive, we are not complacent and recognise we must continue to support and develop our workforce in order to retain them. We want to be an organisation that represents our local communities. The future is potentially difficult for young people to find careers – Suffolk Constabulary is a great organisation to work for and we are actively recruiting at the present time, just click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk