Suffolk's chief constable Steve Jupp on new coronavirus guidelines and impact of Kesgrave shooting and Sudbury bones discovery
Suffolk 's chief constable Steve Jupp, shares his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic and major investigations in the county in his first column for Suffolk News.
The Covid 19 pandemic has brought many challenges to our communities and the new laws on gatherings are another change we will all need to adapt to.
As a Constabulary we continue to work with our partners and the public to ensure this new legislation around gatherings of no more than six people is understood and adhered to. Our focus will remain one of reassurance, looking to engage, explain and encouraging people to follow the new regulations.
We will enforce only where necessary. Officers will always try to disperse people rather than use enforcement, but they will act against those who choose to break the rules and disregard these measures, and put people's lives at risk.
The demands on the force are now at similar levels to before the pandemic, which makes it crucially important that we all take personal responsibility, protect ourselves and others and help prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
We need to remember that anyone can spread it, the Public Health England and NHS advice is there for a reason - please continue to abide by the rules to help us all save lives.
Tragic events earlier this month in Kesgrave and Sudbury where we have had two major investigations (in Kesgrave the shooting of a young schoolboy, and in Sudbury the discovery of human bones in a river) have brought the value of reassurance into sharp focus for us all.
As a police force we work hard to investigate, protect and reassure the public – we want to continue to make Suffolk a safer place in which to live, work, travel and invest. Working together with communities is extremely important and brings us all together as one.
Often when such major incidents occur there is a massive impact on not only the public but also all of the emergency services, especially those who have had to attend the scene, and I would like to place on record my thanks to the air ambulance who responded so quickly to the Kesgrave incident, the students, teachers and parents at Kesgrave High School, our partners, members of the public who have helped officers with enquiries, as well as my own staff and special constables, all of whom dedicate themselves to working so hard.
In the west of the county the public will see some extra visibility following the recent creation of the force’s Kestrel Team – this is a group of proactive officers who can be deployed to support local priorities. Recently, the team have spent time in Bury St Edmunds supporting County Lines targeted work, issues surrounding street drinkers in the town and dealing with a rise in seen across the county in vehicle based antisocial behaviour.
In addition to this, Haverhill will see the introduction of a new dedicated Community Engagement Officer (CEO) Cheryl Claydon to support the work of the CEO already embedded in Sudbury, and we have also seen the arrival of a new rural and wildlife crime officer based at Bury St Edmunds.
As we come to terms with the ‘new normal’ in policing, officers are embracing the need to be proactive and visible on our streets to reassure the public during these demanding times. This has been demonstrated by the way in which we have been able to react and tackle County Lines from taking a grip in our community.
Elsewhere, a different ‘visibility’ is taking place as the new Mildenhall Hub is taking shape in the town and will be the new home for local police officers and partners in 2021. In addition to new school and leisure facilities it will be the new local home for police, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council as well as a health centre, library, job centre and Citizens Advice Bureau. We look forward to it being a real focal point in West Suffolk.