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Fears for crime rate as neighbourhood policing to be significantly reduced

Police PSNI Portadown

Concerns have been raised at the planned cuts to community policing teams across County Armagh.

Due to budget cuts, the number of Neighbourhood Policing posts has been reduced by 75.

These 75 posts are spread across all 11 police districts.

Currently Neighbourhood Policing Teams are on duty for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. These hours of cover will be reduced.

Cusher DUP Councillor, Alderman Gareth Wilson, has said budgets and resources around neighbourhood policing should be protected and not slashed.

The former Lord Mayor of ABC Council made the comments as he said it appeared that neighbourhood policing “wasn’t as visible as in previous months”.

Said Councillor Wilson: “The harsh reality is that right across government, budgets are pressurised, as indeed are all household budgets in this current climate.

“However what I feel mustn’t be allowed to happen from a policing perspective is the redirecting of neighbourhood officers to other duties or the reduction in the neighbourhood team resource to unworkable levels.”

“I have a great working relationship with local police and it is clear to me, compared with previous years, that those hard working neighbourhood teams are under greater pressure and I think the public benefits much more from a full time dedicated neighbourhood team who are on the ground on a really regular beat, rather than those same officers being perhaps tasked to other duties away from their core ‘neighbourhood’ role.

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“I feel this would easily be protected from a resource perspective given the absolute importance attached to neighbourhood policing and the direct success of our own local teams in tackling crime.

“They do so such a sterling job. I trust that neighbourhood teams regardless of what district they police, will be protected as a dedicated service by those in resource management.

“I recall the launch a few years ago of our dedicated neighbourhood teams and also a strengthening of that team following a significant spate of rural crime.

“The success of those teams and their regular beat patterns paid massive dividends in terms of a reduction in crime and I do appeal to planners within the police to rededicate resources to these units and not reduce hours for those teams.”

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