Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Radical shift towards neighbourhood policing needed

3 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Policing, South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has said that there must be a radical shift in the approach to policing for our communities based on genuine partnership.

Mr Maskey said:

"The truth is that in many of our communities there is no real partnership between the PSNI and the people they serve. Many people do not believe that PSNI are focused on the issues that affect their daily lives, or are effective at dealing with individuals involved in serious crime including assaults, burglaries, car theft, sectarian assaults and anti-social behaviour.

"Given our experiences of policing many believe that the approach of the PSNI to policing with the community is, at times selective and partisan. People question the apparent impunity enjoyed by some criminals in our communities.

"A radical shift is required in the approach to how we deliver policing with our communities; a shift based on genuine partnership.

"Across the north Sinn Fein are engaging with the community and facilitating engagement with the policing and justice structures. From West Belfast to South Armagh and Derry Sinn Fein are showing leadership.

"We also need to see developing an equal partnership between the community and police. The police should not and can not be arbiters of 'what is good' for the community. This means putting the community - putting people - at the heart of policing.

"There are many challenges ahead, a new approach is necessary if we are to effectively deliver the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement. We need to see a process of change encompassing structural, cultural and political change.

"It is essential that communities get the policing service that they are entitled to. I believe that a critical engagement between republican communities and the PSNI can help bring this about." ENDS

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