Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler has said the new super councils “must adopt the moral obligation of putting people first by making attacks on the elderly hate crimes, which carry much tougher sentences”.
Councillor Butler issued his challenge when he was the guest speaker at the North Antrim UUP annual meeting at Carnlea Orange Hall, near Ballymena.
The Lisburn and Castlereagh Councillor had been invited to North Antrim by the constituency’s local UUP MLA Robin Swann, who is also the party’s Chief Whip.
“This must be our People’s Pledge – putting the four P’s first. That is, putting pupils, pensioners, patients and people first.
“An aging population means that we have more pensioners living in their homes in towns and in rural areas,” said Mr Butler.
“With the health service drive to provide care in the home, people are less likely to attend hospital or avail of respite care in a care home setting. It is, therefore, crucial that the PSNI make community policing a priority. Putting officers on the ground, on the beat, is essential to offer a frontline visual deterrent to criminals who prey on the elderly. In this respect, I urge that crimes against the elderly be classified as a hate crime which carries greater sentences from the courts.”