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Police took six hours to respond to robberies – claim

A SOUTH Armagh councillor has claimed it took the PSNI six hours to respond to a call from him regarding two house robberies in the Crossmaglen area yesterday (Thursday).

The incidents happened at around 10.30am and Councillor Terry Hearty says he was on the scene within minutes of being alerted.

“Very soon after I had spoken to the victims I contacted the PSNI and informed them that local people had recorded the registration of the vehicle used in the robberies and that this vehicle was still in the locality and was being monitored by members of the community,” he said.

“The police unfortunately did not have any available officers to follow this up and the perpetrators made good their escape. In addition, it was 5pm before the police visited the victims of this crime.”

Councillor Hearty said while he understood the different pressures on police resources, he would “not accept a second rate service for the people of Crossmaglen”.

He added: “I am a member of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership and, as such, I encourage people to report incidents to the police. I am worried that a scenario could develop where people feel there is no point in reporting robberies and other incidents of crime.

“The police must make a better effort to build the confidence of local communities in them.  The PSNI repeatedly talk of providing a community policing service but I didn’t see evidence of it in this case.

“There was recent reports of a great outcome in Mullaghban when members of the community worked alongside the police to foil a robbery. I want to encourage local people to keep liaising with the police and I hope that their lack of response on this occasion does not jeopardise that.

“I hope that the victims of these crimes are not too traumatised by their ordeal and I urge people to remain vigilant to suspicious activity.”

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