16 December 2005

PSNI crime stats lack credibility

Irelandclick.com

• SF councillor says crime figures are ‘artificial’ and are much higher than PSNI claims
• Robberies up by 100 per cent
• Criminal damage cases up by ten per cent

Fresh figures released by the PSNI which show North Belfast is the criminal damage and robbery capital of the city are only the tip of the iceberg Sinn Féin has said.
Oldpark Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín has questioned the accuracy of the figures released by the PSNI which show a 10 per cent increase in the amount of criminal damage offences recorded in the north of the city on this time last year.
The figures also show more than a 100 per cent increase in the number of robberies carried out, with a massive hike from 107 to 217 incidents.
According to the statistics there have been 1659 cases of criminal damages recorded in North Belfast from April until October as opposed to 1504 for the same period in the previous year. In comparison only 955 cases were recorded in East Belfast while there were 1379 cases in West Belfast and 1456 cases in the south of the city.
Sinn Féin Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín said the figures “lacked credibility”.
“I would say these figures are artificial like many police figures which are released by the PSNI – we do not feel they reflect the reality of the situation in North Belfast.
“A lot of people in North Belfast would tend not to report crime simply because they do not have faith in the police service. At present we have a political police force and our position has always been that we need a police, which has complete trust of both communities.
“There have been too many years of bad policing in North Belfast with many people here having lost people through collusion.
“We understand there is high crime in North Belfast, so it’s important we work collectively to resolve the problem of criminality.”
SDLP councillor and member of the North Belfast District Policing Partnership, Pat Convery, said members of the community needed to report crime to the PSNI .
“The only way we can reduce these figures is by cooperating and engaging with police to highlight the problems within local community,” Pat Convery said.
The councillor said he was aware that a significant portion of criminal damage was carried out late at night. But he said by not engaging with the PSNI, the community was allowing crime to increase.
“Lots of criminal damage is carried out late at night and very seldom is it observed, so it’s an issue that is extremely worrying for everyone.
“It’s something that we as a community need to work on to help reduce, and reduce permanently.
“We need to double efforts within the community to make sure that behaviour like this is unacceptable.
“Residents within the community have to realise that crime is causing hardship to others. If they want a responsible community then they have to act responsibly.”
Meanwhile the Policing Board have released their latest figures on how the PSNI is being received by Protestant and Catholic communities.
The results have been taken from a survey of 996 people and they show a fall in confidence in the PSNI’s ability to deal with public order situations while only nine per cent of those asked felt the overall standard of policing in their area had improved.

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

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