COMMUNITY concerns over anti-social behaviour, nuisance driving, under-age drinking and rural crime have been brought to the attention of the PSNI by Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson.
A meeting took place recently between the Area Commander for Craigavon, Chief Inspector Anthony McNally, Inspector Ken Annett of the Neighbourhood Policing team, Dick Mullan of Waringstown Neighbourhood Watch and Mrs Dobson at Lurgan PSNI Station.
Raising concerns on behalf of members of the public who have approached the local MLA, Mrs Dobson said: “Local people have told me they are very concerned about the measures which are being used to tackle anti-social behaviour.
“This issue is certainly not confined to Waringstown village but the fear of crime is always present within our local communities, especially as we build up to Halloween. Darker nights can lead to an increasing nervousness, especially amongst the elderly and vulnerable which contributes directly to a greater sense of social isolation.
“This is precisely why I wanted to raise these concerns directly with the Area Commander and was reassured that when a crime is reported it will be followed up and acted upon. I cannot stress strongly enough that members of the public must inform the police of any incidents of anti-social behaviour.”
Mrs Dobson was accompanied at the meeting by Dick Mullan of Waringstown Neighbourhood Watch who said: “I would like to welcome Jo-Anne’s direct intervention in raising these three important issues of anti-social behaviour, dangerous driving and under-age drinking and felt that it was an extremely constructive meeting.
“I believe that we need to develop partnerships between key stakeholders including the PSNI, community groups, schools, churches and local retailers to take forward the concerns which we raised at this meeting today on behalf of the Waringstown residents and residents of outlying rural areas.”
Speaking during the meeting Area Commander for Craigavon, Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said: “Through the hard work of our officers I can report that across E District crime is down and detection rates are up and I would urge the public to draw encouragement and confidence from this fact.
“Our officers are prepared to work alongside any groups or organisations who want to get involved in helping this trend to continue in the right direction and to help reduce crime. We will also be taking forward initiatives to work with local churches to deliver solutions in tackling and reducing crime.”
In conclusion Mrs Dobson said: “I would urge the public to report incidences which are concerning them directly to the PSNI. Once reported a crime can then be both investigated and the perpetrators pursued and I would commend the officers in the neighbourhood policing team for their hard work.
“I would especially like to mention Constable Michael Allen who recently won community police officer of the year, a well-deserved award and I wish him all the best as he goes forward to the Northern Ireland finals.”