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Sinn Féin take Chair of Policing Partnership in DUP stronghold

7 November, 2008

Ballymoney Sinn Féin Councillor Anita Cavlan has been appointed Chairperson of the District Policing Partnership in Ballymoney. It is the first time a republican has held the post and follows on from Sinn Féin's decision to take their positions on District Policing Partnerships last year.

Speaking after her election Cllr Cavlan said;

"As a local Sinn Féin elected representative, I believe that policing with the community needs to be the core function of any civic policing service, and my aim as Chair of Ballymoney District Policing Partnership is to see that happen.

"Myself and my party colleagues want to see the local community and criminal justice agencies, especially the PSNI, working together to ensure that the residents of Ballymoney Borough can live in peace and safety, free from the ravages of illegal drugs and the anti-social behaviour that has become so prevalent within the area in recent times. Pensioners need to be able to feel safe in their beds and parents need to be assured that their children can socialise with their peers, without fear of falling prey to violence.

"Many within the community feel the PSNI neither have the commitment nor willingness to deal with anti social violence and criminality in their areas. Such feelings can be justified by recent examples of the PSNI failing to deliver, including a 47 minute response time to a serious sectarian attack and an OAP whose bedroom window was broken in the dead of night being told that no patrol car was available to attend the incident.

"All communities suffer crime, regardless of class or creed. Glebeside and Stranocum suffer equally with Dunloy and Loughgiel. As Chair, I will take onto the DPP, levels of scrutiny and accountability that thus far have been missing and I am determined to use this opportunity to bring about an impartial and effective, civic policing service which meets the needs of the community in which it serves.

"I want to see increased co-ordination and the development of a multi-agency approach working closely with the local community to address these problems once and for all. Community police should be utilised where intended and not re-deployed to traffic and other duties. More intensive community policing with increased patrols are required to target street drinkers, vandalism and drug users. The PSNI are overstaffed as statistics prove. There are more police per head of population in the North than in any policing region within Britain or Ireland. If shift patterns were reviewed and bureaucracy curtailed, then personnel could be used to better effect - policing the community to whom they are responsible.

"I will be calling for the PSNI to engage with other agencies including the NIHE, Community Associations, Residents Groups and Community Safety Partnerships, to map out a workable action plan that will see all such agencies liaising closely to ensure the best possible results." ENDS

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