08/08/2008

Politicians Shun Community Policing Meeting

Questions have been raised about the commitment of local political representatives to community policing matters in a busy Co Antrim suburb.

Concerns were raised after not one of the seven councillors for the Antrim Line constituency area showed up at an otherwise well-attended meeting of the Glengormley Community Policing Forum last week.

Forum Vice Chairperson, Patricia Martin, who is also the co-ordinator for one of the area's successful Neighbourhood Watch initiatives, said that all those present, other than the PSNI officers, were there in a purely voluntary capacity, and undertook all their responsibilities in the same capacity, yet no political representatives were available to attend.

"That's just not good enough," she said - a view echoed by Forum member, Terry Hunter, who wondered if the same Antrim Line representatives would be seeking support at the next election.
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Mr Hunter, a Glebecoole resident, referred to one issue in particular - the continued failure to switch on the newly installed additional CCTV cameras in and around the Glengormley Park/Glebecoole area.

Although the police officers present said their activation was imminent - within 24 hours in fact - no one representing Newtownabbey Borough Council, who are responsible for their operation, was there to clarify why, after over a year since the extra cameras were first mooted, they still hadn't been turned on.

Mr Hunter said that the previous Forum meeting which incorporated a fact-finding visit to the CCTV Control Suite at Mossley Mill, was in fact a "waste of time" as the long awaited additional cameras weren't active then either.

He wanted to see, first hand, how the CCTV facility could be used in tackling the frequent acts of vandalism and anti-social behaviour which had, at times, plagued his area.

(BMcC)

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