Concerns on a plethora of criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, were discussed at a “frank and thorough” meeting between Newtownhamilton Community representatives and the PSNI.
Serious criminal activities such as drug dealing, burglary, intimidation as well as car crime, and illegal parking were also on the agenda.
Sinn Fein councillor Barra Ó Muirí was joined at the meeting with Newtownhamilton Community Association representatives Ita Gibney and Niall Murray.
Speaking after meeting with PSNI Chiefs councillor Ó Muirí said the meeting was “frank and thorough” and that he hoped it would prove constructive.
The local Councillor has been vocal about the fears of many living in the south Armagh town in relation to the health, safety and well being of residents.
“Ultimately, we’ll have to see what difference comes from the meeting, but I believe it was imperative that it has taken place,” said councillor Ó Muirí.
“Much has happened in Newtown in the past few weeks to make residents question the role of the police in tackling crime and offering protection to the community.
“The PSNI were told in no uncertain manner of the concerns about human trafficking and sex trafficking.
“Serious criminal activities such as drug dealing, burglary, intimidation as well as car crime, and illegal parking were discussed.”
He added: “The PSNI assured us that every effort would be made to ensure the safety of residents and that all matters would be fully investigated.”
Police Officers present also said that any cars which were found to be untaxed, uninsured or unfit for road use would be taken away and impounded.
They advised that this will begin immediately.
“If anyone has any concerns about vehicles being abandoned or misused, they can contact me directly,” councillor Ó Muirí added.
Explaining that all Agencies with responsibilities for Community cohesion, health, safety and well being would be asked to support the Newtownhamilton community councillor Ó Muirí said he had invited Housing officers from the Council’s Environmental Health Department out to Newtown to discuss housing issues such as overcrowding, anti-social behaviour and collective responsibility.
“The Housing Executive, Council and landlords all have a role to play to ensure that as best as practically possible, landlords and tenants live up to their responsibilities and that any type of serious anti social activities are challenged.
“For example there must be checks to ensure that all Landlords are abiding by the rules governing HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy).
Councillor Ó Muirí is to meet with Department of Infrastructure chiefs to establish a Traffic Management Plan for the centre of Newtown.