Craig concerned by crime rise

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Lagan Valley MLA Jonathan Craig has voiced concerns over a provincewide rise in overall crime.

DUP Group Leader on the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Mr Craig is seeking assurances from the Chief Constable that police are moving to deal with what he called a “very worrying” upsurge.

The local MLA spoke out following publication of the latest PSNI Annual Crime Statistics, showing a 2.3% rise in overall crime.

He said: “Incidents of crime across Northern Ireland have risen from 102,746 in 2013/14 to 105,072 in 2014/15.

“As a member of the Policing Board we have seen crime reduced year on year from the very high levels in the 2002/03 year.

“This has been a direct result of hard work by the PSNI, the Policing Board, the Policing partnerships and the community assisting our frontline officers.

“These latest figures are very concerning.

“I have been raising my concerns about the PSNI’s direction of travel and the impact this will have in our communities

“ It is imperative that the PSNI don’t let the positive work that has been achieved over many years be eroded and community confidence damaged as a result.

“The harsh realities of the 2014/15 crime figures reveal that Northern Ireland has 2,326 more victims of crime compared to the 2013/14 figure.

“That’s 2,326 more individuals, families and communities that are having to deal with the aftermath of crime and the lasting effects that crimes have on victims.

“I will be raising my concerns at the next Policing Board meeting with the Chief Constable and asking for a full breakdown on these latest figures.

“He must assure the community that the PSNI are putting in place plans to deal with this very worrying rise in crime throughout Northern Ireland.”