Support for jail sentences

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FROM: William Boyce (address supplied).

Most people, quite rightly, consider attacks upon elderly people to be among most heinous and despicable of any kind of criminal activity.

That is why I was pleased to see the DUP bring forward a proposal that any such attack should carry an automatic prison sentence. It is also why I was astounded at the response of the Ulster Unionist Party to this proposal.

In a series of media interviews, including one on the Nolan Show. UUP MLA and member of the NI Policing Board Basil McCrea has set his face steadfastly against this – and I for one simply find that incredible.

It is all well and good for Mr McCrea to talk glibly about the downward statistical trend in the levels of crime against the elderly (something we all welcome) but the fact remains that old people feel very vulnerable and frightened - and they remain in danger of attack by gutless thugs.

I for one never thought I would see the day when the appearance would be given by the UUP that given the choice between criminal thugs and vulnerable old people, it would tread softly upon the thug and fail vulnerable older people.

I really do feel that there are elements of the UUP that have simply lost their way and in the process have lost the plot.

I would, if permitted, like to make this public appeal to our UUP MLAs – Sam Gardiner and Jo-Anne Dobson. Please let us know your position on this. Will you side with the old, the infirm and the vulnerable and give your support to this proposal? Or will you reject it in the manner of Basil McCrea – who described it as ‘kneejerk?’

All across the Lurgan area there are senior citizens who are fearful and who feel trapped in their own homes. Please, please let us know that you will both go against Basil McCrea and give your support to this worthwhile proposal.