The independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has recently launched a campaign to encourage Ipswich residents to speak up about drug dealing gangs.
The campaign was kick started by a series of advertising on billboards, bus shelters and phone boxes across Ipswich town centre and was followed by a series of advertising banners on the platforms at Ipswich train station. It continues for the next few months with postcards being put through the letterboxes of Ipswich homes, corex boards and posters being displayed in community areas, Facebook adverts and radio adverts on Town 102.
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The Charity will also be going into local schools and youth clubs this week to tell those aged between 11- 17 about the Crimestoppers youth brand Fearless (www.fearless.org). They will be joining forces with the St Giles Trust who will be sending some ex-gang members to recount their experiences and highlight the choices open to them, including giving information anonymously to Fearless.
Ann Scott, Eastern Regional Manager for Crimestoppers, said: “People often ask me why someone would not contact the police if they knew about drug dealing in their community or about someone who carried a knife, or someone who was being sexually exploited by a gang. The fear of a criminal finding out that you have gone to the police about them can paralyse a community. Crimestoppers removes that concern and gives people peace of mind”.
She added: “People should feel safe and secure in their own community. No one has anything to fear by contacting Crimestoppers, as you will remain anonymous. We never ask for your name and no personal details are taken; calls are not recorded, calls/online forms cannot be traced and you will not have to go to court or give a statement to the police. In the 26 years that Crimestoppers has been running we have never broken our promise of anonymity”.
Ipswich Policing Commander Superintendent Louisa Pepper commented: “Although we do not have a significant drug problem in Ipswich, we want to show those who are involved in this activity that it will not be tolerated in Suffolk. We regularly act on intelligence provided by the local community and are present on the streets to catch offenders red-handed with drugs in their possession. We recognise the effect this issue can have on a community and the associated crime it can bring along with it. I encourage you to not suffer in silence and give us the vital information to hold drug dealers accountable for their actions.”
The campaign has been funded by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, which has dedicated resources to combat gang activity. Detective Inspector Graham Smith from ERSOU said: “The message we want to get across is to urge members of the community to speak out about gang crime. Gangs cause misery to communities and often those involved, who can end up with criminal records and reduced prospects in life. We want people to be aware of the dangers and help prevent their loved ones being drawn into gang crime.”
Crimestoppers plays a significant part in the fight against crime. 1,000 people contact the charity every day to give information about crime, which leads to an average of 17 arrests every day.
Members of the public are eligible to claim a reward of up to £1,000 if their information given to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 leads to a successful arrest and charge. They can also complete a ‘giving information’ form on the Crimestoppers website www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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