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Inspector Matt Paisley lists his priorities for Bury St Edmunds as he becomes locality inspector

Bury’s new top police inspector has committed to keeping the area safe as he takes office.

Insp Matt Paisley has started work as locality inspector and this week he told the Bury Free Press that antisocial behaviour-related issues, such as street drinking and begging, are among his priorities.

But he is also looking to disrupt the dangerous drug gangs who are coming out of London and operating in west Suffolk – a process called ‘county lines’.

Inspector Matt Paisley
Inspector Matt Paisley

“My message to the people of Bury is that you are in a safe town and a safe area with committed officers,” he said.

“Bury is a beautiful place, with good tradition and wonderful history. I have no qualms about bringing my children through Bury.”

Insp Paisley hails from Hadleigh, where he has worked as a Pc, and also has worked in Capel St Mary and Sudbury. Most recently he worked in Ipswich, where he describes the issues as being ‘very different’.

Inspector Matt Paisley
Inspector Matt Paisley

“The priorities in Bury are diverse,” he said. “County lines affects the western area of a county more because of the train line and Bury is not immune – which might surprise some.”

In the county line process, London gangs typically prey on vulnerable people in counties outside of the capital by taking over the home of an addict where they establish a base. This is known as cuckooing.

Insp Paisley said: “What we must not lose sight of is that there are two sides to this.

“There is the enforcement side of county lines, which is about taking drug dealers off the street.

“But there is also a vulnerability. There are young people involved, not just from Bury, but from London and other areas outside of Suffolk who are being forced to come in.

“There are vulnerable individuals who have lost control of their own addresses because of cuckooing and county line problems.”

The new inspector has taken over from the departing Matt Dee, who had the role from 2016 until earlier this month. Insp Paisley will undertake the same ceremonial roles as his predecessor, such as laying wreaths on Remembrance Day and taking part in this weekend’s Battle of Britain parade march.

Insp Paisley said Suffolk Police was under the same financial pressures as other UK forces and no longer were large teams of officers constantly patrolling the town centre with no other brief.

But police visibility was still key to the operation, and the force now worked on a more proportionate basis – striving to be visible in the ‘right places’.

“Street drinking and begging is one of the key topics for us at the moment,” the inspector continued. “That is not something you can police from an office – you need to build a relationship with the individual. We look at each case and work with partner organisations to find the best solution.

He added: “Antisocial behaviour can be under-rated generally, and people can think begging / street drinking is a minor part of antisocial behaviour.

“But anything that impacts on people’s ability to enjoy the town needs to be taken seriously.

“We need to do everything we can to work with partners to make sure you and I can walk through Bury to make sure we can enjoy it in a peaceful manner.

“The other side of that, is that those people on the street are vulnerable. They may be addicted to alcohol, or drugs, or may not have a roof over their heads. They may not have access to money or funds. You have to be careful when you talk about these issues not to isolate the problem and point the finger at certain groups of individuals.”

For preventing incidents the inspector describes a ‘broken window effect’ – where crime encourages more crime. And to cut down on this, he is asking residents to be vigilant and report anything they think of as suspicious.

“For me, nothing could be seen as a low level matter,” said Insp Paisley. “Let’s go and sort it out early doors, before it develops into a bigger problem. We give callers the time they deserve.”