29/04/2002

Security cameras to be installed in north Belfast

The Northern Ireland Security Minister, Jane Kennedy has announced that she is providing for extra cameras to be installed in sectarian flashpoints across North Belfast.

In all 45 cameras will be erected in a rolling programme of installation, the first 18 of which are expected to be in place before the summer.

The Security Minister said she made the decision under the recommendation of the Acting Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn, who advised they would have a positive impact on the levels of violence at the sectarian interfaces.

Junctions and areas identified as initial top priority are: Limestone Road; North Queen Street and Duncairn Gardens; Crumlin Road; Whitewell Road and Gunnell Hill; Navara Place; Serpentine Road and Merston Gardens; Whitewell Road and Shore Road and Whitewell Road and Arthur Bridge.

Announcing the initiative the Security Minister said: “I am in no doubt that the cameras will not only offer reassurance to both communities, but will also provide the police with a valuable tool with which to combat the brutal and needless violence which we have witnessed in North Belfast in recent times.

“I am dismayed at the continuing levels of violence. In particular I have noted with extreme concern the numbers of young people who are on the streets during riot situations. This is intolerable and I call upon parents to ensure that their children are off the streets before a child is killed or seriously injured.

“It is essential that a lasting solution is found to the problems in the area. CCTV will give assurance to those people who are subject to the almost daily campaign of terror, but the cameras won't bring about an end to the deep-rooted sectarian violence.”

The Chairman of the Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea, has backed the initiative: “The situation in North Belfast has been of serious concern to the Policing Board. We have been shocked at the ferocity of attack directed at the police and the number of serious injuries to officers in recent weeks. The drain on police resources is unsustainable and is ultimately having an impact on delivery of normal policing service, both in North Belfast, the Greater Belfast area and throughout the rest of Northern Ireland."

However, he warned that while CCTV alone would not solve the problems, he believed that it would allow police to deal more proactively with situations and to review footage to help identify offenders.

“The problems in North Belfast must be grasped by the community and worked through. The police should not continue to be caught in the middle,” he added.

(AMcE)

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