Police launch new monitoring scheme

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SUFFOLK Police are tightening their net on prolific criminals as part of a new monitoring initiative.

Officers are following and observing known offenders in and around Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft during the three month Operation Apache.

Teams of uniformed and plain clothed police are on the look out for four individuals in Bury to build a picture of their daily activities by talking to them and people they know.

Detective Sergeant Matt Little, who is leading Apache in West Suffolk, said: “It’s designed primarily to look at persistent offenders and how we can tackle their behaviour.

“The operation is more concentrated on the individual by having a dedicated group of staff who can monitor them. There’s an opportunity to build a rapport and engage.

“They’ve got to think that everything they do is being monitored, who’s watching them and who’s going to knock on their door.”

Intelligence is also being gathered with head and hand held cameras as well as CCTV to record any acts that may need evidencing.

Once contact is made with the individuals, they will be given the chance to speak to the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team for support if they are dependent on drugs.

Offenders are being given letters explaining they will be openly watched and filmed.

The initiative could result in police identifying other individuals.

The Bury Free Press was able to accompany officers as they patrolled Bury town centre on Wednesday

Within five minutes, uniformed police identified an individual of interest on Cornhill.

Det Sgt Little said: “Officers engaged with him to find out what he’s doing and who he’s going to meet.

“Plain clothed officers are in and around the town centre so they can direct uniformed officers if necessary.

“If he gets up to anything in the course of the day we will be told about him.”

“The activity has been a useful indicator for us.

“We’ve engaged with people we expected to be in and around the town. It’s let them know we are watching them and put us at the forefront of their minds.”