27 April 2006

Cops ask for help with the hoods


by Roisin McManus

Local Sinn Féin councillor Fra McCann says he is amazed that the PSNI have delivered questionnaires asking local people to give details on those responsible for anti-social behaviour in the Lower Falls.

Councillor McCann says he now intends to write to the Chief Constable asking him how many of those involved in anti-social behaviour in the Lower Falls are paid touts working with the PSNI.

Households in the Lower Falls received letters from the West Belfast DCU Anti-Social Behaviour Unit yesterday asking them to fill in an ‘Information Gathering Questionnaire’.

Householders are asked to provide the names and addresses of those involved in anti-social behaviour and are asked what they think should be done about the behaviour.

Councillor McCann said that while he welcomed any measure that would tackle anti-social behaviour, he believes that this exercise is pointless.

“Certainly as an elected representative I welcome a solution to the anti-social problem, but it is ironic that the PSNI, who use many of these people as paid informers, are now asking local people to identify them.

“These people are well known, they are known to the dogs in the streets. They are arrested and released and they re-offend.

“I will now write to the Chief Constable and ask him how many of the people responsible for this behaviour are in his paid employment.

“I think this is a charm offensive by the PSNI to garner the support of people in West Belfast. I would encourage local people to support their local neighbourhood watches in the fight against anti-social behaviour,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said that the leaflet is to inform the local community about the issue of tackling anti-social behaviour through various means.

She said that the PSNI, working in partnership with Belfast City Council and the Housing Executive, wish to tackle issues to improve community safety, to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

Inspector Darren Rice from the Community Safety Unit added: “We carried out the leaflet drop this morning and already have had a very favourable response from the local community.

“I believe that this response demonstrates that people are not prepared to tolerate this type of behaviour in their area any longer,” he added.

Journalist:: Roisin McManus

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