A south Armagh councillor has praised a new cross border community policing strategy following reports of criminal gangs from the Republic targeting pensioners in his constituency.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) has this week approved a report of a €30k investment from the Republic’s Department of Justice to support an ‘All Island Community Safety Network’.
Three pilot Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSP) are currently being organised in Longford, Waterford and north inner city Dublin with networking opportunities arising to develop community safety projects North and South.
Slieve Gullion Sinn Fein rep, Declan Murphy said: “It is a good sign that the PCSP is able to work in other areas, especially on a cross border basis and bring the experience that we have had to another county council.
“I know they have JPCs (Joint Policing Committees) in the South, but it doesn’t cover the same about of work with regards to training safety as the likes of the PCSP would.
“It’s definitely a good step in the right direction.”
He added: “The other aspect to this is and where it really sinks in for community safety for myself, is the most recent break-ins that we have had in the Slieve Gullion DEA (district electoral area).
“One was a commercial premises and by a gang that targets commercial premises from the south and the other one was a senior citizen’s house and again it is a gang that actually targets senior citizens and again it’s cross border criminal gang.
“So, the more co-operation we have the better. It’s good to see the PSNI and An Garda Síochána, the DoJs North and South all supporting this initiative, it is a win, win for everybody.
“This will give more protection for community safety. Hopefully it can now be extended to other areas
“It was also the DoJ from the South who provided the €30k, so happy days.”