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Frank exchange between residents and PSNI following crime wave in Co Armagh town

There were frank discussions between residents and PSNI following a meeting designed to address the recent crime wave in Keady.

The meeting, held at the TMAC in the town centre on Thursday, was arranged following a spate of serious criminal activity over recent months.

Two churches and a GP surgery were among the many properties targeted by these criminals.

Sinn Féin councillor Darren McNally said that whilst recent criminal activity in the Keady locality had heightened the fears of many, he felt sure that with efficient, effective policing and working in partnership with communities the battle against crime can be won.

As a result of the meeting, which included the PSNI, PCSP members and people from various estates within the Keady community, initiatives were drawn up help reduce fear of crime, vandalism and generally improve the quality of life of those in that area.

“The recent wave of serious criminal attacks on people’s homes, businesses and properties, particularly our most vulnerable, has motivated many within those communities under attack from these callous thieves to come together,” explained councillor McNally.

Mr McNally said the meeting was designed to not only to deter the criminals but “to help create stronger, active communities”.

Describing the meeting as “robust” the local representative noted a frank exchange of views between the people of Keady and the PSNI.

“There is a lot of anger in the community at present about the recent upsurge in criminal activity, as is evident by the large number of people attending the public meeting,” he said.

“This event was an opportunity for residents and business owners to question the PSNI on their plans to tackle the issues facing our community.

“Commitments were given from the PSNI to tackle the antisocial behaviour hotspots in the town, to clamp down on the availability of drugs to our young people and to increase patrols to tackle the recent spate of burglaries.

“Hopefully with the support of the PCSP, the PSNI and other appropriate agencies this will happen and we will have a scenario where crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen.

“The PCSP and PSNI in particular should be under no illusion that they have quite a way to go to convince people that they are focused on and committed to tackling and apprehending those engaged in these shameful crimes.”

He added: “What we want to witness is efficient, effective policing, working in partnership with communities, showing leadership and commitment in the battle against crime.”

His colleague Cathal Boylan MLA said that the support for initiatives throughout the area was a positive and practical move.

“I commend Darren and all who over the past while have stepped up to the plate by showing leadership within our communities as a reaction to the onslaught of criminal attack on homes and properties,” commented Mr Boylan.

“I am sure the setting up of a number of crime prevention initiatives will provide a firmer deterrent against wrongdoing and also create an awareness about the issues involved.”

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