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No joined-up approach between the PSNI and other justice agencies

3 October, 2007

Sinn Féin President, West Belfast MP Gerry Adams MP speaking in an Assembly debate on Policing has said that there needs to be a joined-up approach between the PSNI and other justice agencies, including alternative bodies and institutions, to create a cohesive and sustained approach in partnership with local communities to tackle anti-social behaviour.

That debate follows the murder of West Belfast man Harry Holland.

Extending sympathy to the Holland family Mr Adams said:

"I extend solidarity and condolences to Harry Holland's wife, Pauline; to their daughters Méabh, Gráinne, Sarah and Gael; to his mother Violet; to his brothers and sisters; to Pauline's mother, Grace; and to the Devlin family. Ba fear uasal Harry Holland, fear le grá mór, grá don saol, grá do eolas, grá do fhoireann, do cheol agus rudaí mar sin.

"Harry Holland was an active citizen. He was a friend of mine, and we lived in the same street until his death. He was also progressive in his ideas on how our community should deal with antisocial behaviour and criminality. Harry was prepared to give people, particularly young people, every support. That is also my position. We must face up to our responsibilities as parents.

"If anyone needs any lessons on that, the letter from Harry's daughters in this week's 'Andersonstown News' give some insight into how parents can imbue young people with sound, core values. I pay tribute to the Holland family for the dignified and graceful way in which they have faced up to their terrible loss. Bhí agus tá siad cróga, galánta agus mar shampla iontach dúinn go léir."

Mr Adams continued:

"There is no tolerance in west Belfast for criminal or antisocial behaviour. However, there is also a justified, deep anger that actions such as Harry's murder are used to smear all the people of west Belfast, particularly our young people.

"The vast majority of the people of west Belfast are decent, hard-working, law-abiding and respectable citizens.

"It is also a fact that there is a heightened fear among some sections of our people, particularly our elderly and people living alone, because of the popular view that criminals can get away with anything. That is not only a west Belfast or republican view.

"There is a widespread sense of scepticism throughout the Six Counties. As political leaders and representatives, we have a responsibility to change that. The PSNI and the criminal justice agencies also have a duty to deliver.

"Sinn Féin has been to the forefront in leading recent community initiatives to engage with the PSNI. In west Belfast, which has suffered terribly from bad policing, particularly in the upper Springfield area, hundreds of citizens are engaged in programmes to assist the PSNI to challenge thugs and criminals, many of whom are repeat offenders and well known to the PSNI and the justice agencies.

"There are legitimate questions to be asked, not only about policing budgets or numbers of police officers but about how those resources are deployed. There are big questions about how the PSNI responds to calls or to information from citizens. Questions arise about the response times and the relationship between the PSNI and the justice agencies and other bodies, particularly in dealing with offenders.

"However, there is also a need to build confidence and community solidarity and to develop a joined-up and sustained approach.

"As we speak no joined-up approach exists between the PSNI and other justice agencies, including alternative bodies and institutions, to create a cohesive and sustained approach in partnership with local communities. We must get the criminals and the thugs off the streets, but that means delivering good civic policing as a public service so that citizens have the protection and justice that they all deserve." ENDS

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