17/12/2007

Community Policing In Focus

A newly introduced policing strategy that has just been rolled out across the whole of east Antrim may already be paying dividends.

A local policing liaison group, covering the Glengormley area, has just been told of reductions in levels of reported anti social behaviour.

In the same week as the new Community Policing Strategy document was being launched by the PSNI, Inspector Julie Blain, the Sector Inspector for Antrim Line, was meeting with community representatives to outline progress.

She told members of the Antrim Line Community Policing Forum that levels of anti social behaviour had fallen by some 40% across the Newtownabbey area since the previous quarter and that incidences of criminal damage were also down dramatically.

She said: "There are now whole evenings that go by without any reports of anti social behaviour being received," she said, noting this is a major improvement on the last quarter.

"However, we are not complacent," she continued. "Thanks partly to the festive season and people being more relaxed about their security, there has been a rise in domestic burglaries and while we have been targeting the problem in a number of operations, I am urging householders to use common sense to help protect themselves.

"Don't have your presents on display around the tree if the curtains are being left open, and use discretion in where you leave your car keys in the home when you go to bed at night – and take your mobile phone to the bedroom too – so as to be able to raise the alarm if an intruder is heard – as in the case of so-called 'creeper burglaries' which can happen to when opportunist thieves take advantage of perhaps an open window, or an unlocked door," she said.

The Policing Forum, a part of Newtownabbey's District Policing Partnerships' arrangements for community involvement, was also told of the new Community Policing Strategy - which aims to further improve access to local policing services, give residents influence over policing priorities in their neighbourhoods, and improve communication between the police and local communities.

It is understood that PSNI chiefs will aim for better access to policing and increased communication with local people through neighbourhood community engagement events, use of the Internet and police drop-in 'surgeries'.

(BMcC)

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