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Sinn Féin delegation raise West Belfast policing concerns

14 January, 2009 - by Jennifer McCann, Sue Ramsey

A delegation of senior Sinn Fein representatives have, met with senior PSNI officers from the West Belfast and Dunmurry areas to discuss a number of important issues, including the recent spate of tiger kidnappings, the availability of illegal drugs and the wave of burglaries which have taken place over the past few weeks.

Representing Sinn Fein were MLAs Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsey, Councillors Sam Baker and Maire Cush and a representative of the office of West Belfast MP Gerry Adams.

Jennifer McCann MLA, commenting on the meeting, said:

''We pressed the PSNI officers on the issue of the tiger kidnappings and there was some discussion on the work that the PSNI are doing to apprehend the criminals behind this attacks.

''The PSNI informed us that they have a special team of detectives working on the tiger kidnapping cases. Our party would call upon anyone with information about those kidnappings to bring it forward without delay. ''

Cllr Maire Cush said that local people want to see drug crime effectively tackled:

''In relation to the availability of illegal drugs in the West Belfast area, we questioned the PSNI on the availability of illegal drugs and recent seizures. The PSNI noted that their recent success in making major drugs seizures in West Belfast was down to community involvement. Groups like Community Restorative Justice are playing a positive part in this community response. I would appeal to anyone, especially any young person, who feels trapped by drugs or drug dealers to come forward and seek help."

"We also questioned the PSNI about a noticeable increase in car crime in the greater Falls. Those engaged in car crime and death driving have caused harm to our community and effective responses by all statutory agencies are required to prevent that."

MLA Sue Ramsey said the activities of prolific offenders and incidences of sex crime were also raised by Sinn Fein.

"During the meeting, the PSNI informed us about the creation of a new Public Protection Unit to respond specifically to sex crime. In response to concerns about prolific or repeat offenders, the PSNI have said that they intend to set up a new centralised system with people drawn from different sections specifically to look at prolific offenders and that is to be based in Grosvenor Road PSNI station. Clearly, we have to see if these developments will make a difference."

"All members of the public, especially those most vulnerable, have a right to be protected from sex crime or any other violence. How effectively the PSNI intervene in this incident and how the courts, judiciary and other agencies respond will all impact on confidence in the policing and justice system and the quality of life of the local community."

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