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Anti-social behaviour is a major problem in all communities

3 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Policing Board member, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay speaking in an Assembly debate on Policing has said that anti-social behaviour is a major problem in all communities.

He also highlighted the gaps in understanding between the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service and Sinn Fein's concerns about this creating delays in legal proceedings and in the failure to prosecute.

Mr McKay said:

"Unfortunately, hardly a week passes without the public being shocked at the types of crimes that are committed in the community, many of which seem totally senseless.

"Earlier this year, the Assembly discussed the concerning rise in attacks on emergency workers. At that time, we in Sinn Féin, expressed our support for the work of the zero tolerance strategic group in tackling this issue. The attacks on emergency workers are mainly, if not entirely, down to, antisocial behaviour. That is just one example of the effect of antisocial behaviour on society.

"Antisocial behaviour is a major problem in all communities. If it is not nipped in the bud, it can soon spiral out of control, and lead to assaults, robberies and murder. The PSNI needs to start tackling antisocial behaviour more effectively in rural and urban areas.

"In my own constituency, I can think of at least one rural area, namely Loughiel, where there is a major problem with antisocial elements using runabouts, burning out vehicles and driving dangerously, sometimes while intoxicated. Such antisocial behaviour is also a pressing issue in some areas of our towns and cities. If it is not handled effectively, there will be more unnecessary deaths on our roads.

"Clearly, there are gaps in understanding between the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service, and we are seriously concerned about the delays in legal proceedings and in the failure to prosecute successfully where appropriate. Following my party's suggestion, the Policing Board decided at a recent meeting to make resolution of that situation a priority. "Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that people get the policing and justice that they so rightly deserve.

"The failure of British direct rule Ministers to prevent the early release of a convicted rapist in County Tyrone has rightly outraged the public, especially since there was more than ample time to act in the wake of the tragic death of Attracta Harron. The Assembly must take responsibility for policing and justice to prevent such injustices from occurring in the future.

"We must work to ensure that communities have real access to the criminal justice system in order that their concerns can be taken on board and furthered. All the criminal justice agencies must listen to and work with local communities to deliver good, impartial and effective policing." ENDS

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