Give police the funds they need to implement a ‘bobbies on the beat’ policing strategy to combat the burglar scourge, a local MLA has demanded.
Lagan Vally MLA Jenny Palmer has challenged the Stormont Executive and especially the Justice Minister to give the necessary resources to the PSNI so they can tackle this problem.
Palmer issued her call as she condemned a recent burglary in Lisburn’s Warren Park Drive which saw a young family return from holidays to find their home targeted and a death threat daubed on a wall.
Mrs Palmer said: “I totally condemn this thuggish behaviour and call on the community to give whatever information they can on this burglary to the police so that the perpetrators responsible can soon be brought before the courts.
“The community is also to be commended for rallying around this young family in their time of need.
“However, if the burglar scourge in our society is to be effectively combated and defeated, we need the Stormont Executive to adopt a ‘gloves off’ approach to eradicating this type of criminal behaviour.
“This can only be achieved by the Executive giving more powers and resources to the PSNI through the Justice Minister and a policy of ‘bobbies on the beat’ implemented whereby residents can visibly see police officers physically patrolling their communities.
“This must also be followed up by much tougher jail terms and fines for those convicted by the courts of burglaries.
“I also encourage communities to embark on a strategy of establishing a network of police-approved neighbourhood watches to keep an eye on homes while people are away at work, away from their homes, or on holidays.
“In this respect, I also fully commend the excellent work being done whereby communities are partnering with groups, such as Lisburn Safe (the Resurgam Trust) and the PSNI to keep a close eye on their homes. These partnership perform a magnificent work for the community.
“I fully recognise that neighbourhood watches are an immediate short-term fix to the scourge of burglars, and that what is required permanently are more police patrols.
“It is vital that both the Executive and the Justice Minister address the burglar problem before an illegal vigilante culture begins to develop in society,” warned Assembly member Palmer.