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Reporter quizzes police chief

The Ipswich Evening Star has taken its Police Watch campaign a step further by questioning the chief of Suffolk Police.

Reporter Lisa Baxter met Paul Scott-Lee to discuss public fears about the length of time between incidents occuring and the public being told.

The newspaper was prompted to begin its campaign after a man tried to entice a four-year-old girl into his car, but it was four days before police released details of the incident.

In another case, a young boy was approached and lifted into the air by a stranger in his local park. No details were released until 24 days later.

After receiving a huge number of outraged letters from shocked readers, the Evening Star launched Police Watch with the intention of getting the situation changed.

The campaign has won strong support, not just from the general public but also from the Bury St Edmunds MP, David Ruffley.

He said: “This is an excellent campaign. If child snatchers are on the streets and the police know about it, they must tell the local community immediately.”

In her meeting with Mr Scott-Lee, Lisa asked him what was being done to improve the situation.

Mr Scott-Lee replied: “We’ve recommended to all staff that in all areas of potential public safety they must give early consideration to the release of information to the public.

“As a result of that we have tried to ensure that in these incidents, where it is appropriate to put a public safety message out, they go out as soon as possible.”

He went on to say: “Demands on the police service have never been greater and the particular circumstances of Suffolk are no different from the rest of the country in that respect.”

In spite of this, the Evening Star has pledged to maintain its campaign.

Political editor Paul Geater said: “In no way does this interview represent the end of our campaign. We will continue to report cases of concern as and when they occur.”

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