Police target bad behaviour in Newmarket but say there's still a lot more to do
A senior police officer has told councillors that there was still a lot to be done to tackle the spate of anti-social behaviour in the town.
Inspector Mark Shipton was speaking at a meeting of the town council on Monday when he outlined exactly what police had been doing in the town since town businesses called for action to stem what they called an ‘outbreak of lawlessness’ more than a month ago.
He said as part of Operation Brendon, officers had targeted groups of youths who had been involved in antisocial behaviour and who had been committing offences in the town centre and other parts of the town including Newmarket Academy and the town’s leisure centre in Exning Road.
As a result, two teenagers will be appearing at youth court in Ipswich next month.
A 17-year-old girl has been charged in connection with theft, drug possession and repeatedly failing to comply with orders to stay out of the town centre and a youth, also 17, is charged with possession of an offensive weapon, an extendable baton.
“Numerous youths still remain under investigation,” said Insp Shipton, “and there are still issues in and around the town centre.
“There is a lot more work to be done but we are moving in the right direction in getting some of these youngsters into the system.”
He told councillors police were targeting five or six of what he called the ringleaders of the group whose ages ranged from 12 to 17. And although some of the group had been caught in possession of cannabis, they were not seen by the police as drug dealers.
“If we get them out of the group, then the rest who are mainly hangers-on tend to drift away,” he said.
He said there had been some issues at Newmarket Academy with members of the group going to the premises and staff having to call the police.
“We have been working with the school as it has a very good CCTV system,” said Insp Shipton, who also told councillors that investigations were ongoing into allegations that a security guard at The Guineas shopping centre and members of his family had been targeted by the group.
“It is not an easy fix,” said Insp Shipton, “it is going to take a lot of time and I would urge members of the public to continue to report incidents no matter how small.”