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Sinn Féin highlight low PSNI clearance rates

3 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Policing Board member, Foyle MLA Martina Anderson speaking in an Assembly debate on Policing has said that crime and anti-community activity are two of the major issues for the vast majority of people across the North.

She also highlighted the very poor clearance rate for recorded crime which was just 16.5% last year

Ms Anderson said:

"Crime and anti-community activity are two of the major issues for the vast majority of people across the North. In Derry two families were left homeless and a community centre was gutted in a despicable arson attack at the weekend. That kind of mindless destruction has no place whatsoever in our society, and there should be no hiding place for those engaged in any such anti-community activity.

"Sinn Féin has been at the forefront in tackling all those issues and will continue to confront crime in all its guises. Clearly, that requires a proactive and robust PSNI response, for which the police should be properly resourced.

"Policing with the community is central to that. There must be prompt and effective responses to community co-operation. That engagement with the community must also involve the vast majority of young people who are decent and active citizens, all of whom reject, and have no tolerance for, the day-to-day crime to which they, their families and their peers are subjected.

"However, if we are to make serious inroads against crime, the PSNI must also become a first-class service. We are already one of the world's most policed societies, yet the clearance rate for recorded crime was just 16.5% last year. Despite the huge number of officers currently employed by the PSNI, they are resolving fewer than one in five crimes. Clearly, there is room for much-needed improvement.

"We should focus on the quality of services and where PSNI officers are deployed. There must be a greater emphasis on efficiency, with officers on the streets where they are needed rather than trapped behind desks, filling in forms. That problem was highlighted recently by the Oversight Commissioner, and the PSNI manage­ment team has supported those concerns.

"We must ensure that we create the highest standard of police service, which is efficient and effective, because the day-to-day level of crime in our communities is totally unacceptable. We must see an end to the death drivers, who are often back on the streets to terrorise our communities only hours after being arrested. We must see an end to drug dealers, who seem able to ply their deadly trade with impunity, despite their identities being well known.

"The only way that we will ever deliver a truly effective approach to crime is if the PSNI and the judiciary end the rotating-door justice system that allows some of the most persistent offenders back on the streets, often without so much as a slap on the wrist. The most effective way to achieve such a joined-up approach to tackling crime is by transferring policing, the judiciary and justice powers to the Assembly." ENDS

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