A rise of gang and drug-related violence in Ipswich is “everyone’s business” and needs community groups to work together, a police chief said.
It focused on increased crime levels in the Jubilee Park and Nacton Road areas.
Rachel Kearton, Suffolk’s Assistant Chief Constable, said the problems were “not just a police issue”.
At a community meeting held at Murrayside Learning Centre, there was a call for more visible policing from people who said youngsters could be seen dealing drugs on the streets.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said when out with officers on observation, he had seen children as young as 14 with “a packet of class A drugs worth £300 or £400”.
Gangs known by names including “J-Block” and “Q-Block” worked to “establish local dealing networks” in the area, the report published on Monday said.
“Violence, threats and coercion were used routinely by these groups to exert control over vulnerable children and young people,” the report said.
ACC Kearton, insisted there was a “sufficient number of police” to deal with the area and “extra resources” were available.
“The issue in Ipswich, around drugs crime, is not just a police issue, it is a partnership issue, and this is everyone’s business,” she said.
Bill Knowles, a Labour Ipswich Borough councillor, said: “It is a very serious matter for the area and we do need collective action to get a grip of this, to break up this appalling gang culture in parts of the town.
“We now need to work together with the other agencies.”
The report found that Suffolk Police had made 2,500 arrests over the past two and years in connection with drug-related crime.
It added that “enforcement alone” could not solve the problem alone and all key agencies needed to work together and have “clarity” where accountability lies.
Further public meetings are being held on 13, 14, 19 and 21 September.
Source: BBC Suffolk