Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale has accompanied the PSNI on an evening’s patrol to see what officers deal with as part of normal day.
“As the most recent member of the Policing Board I discussed with T/ACC Todd the possibility of observing how the PSNI respond to the complex needs of an Urban/ Rural landscape within Lagan Valley,” explained Mrs Hale.
“Given the concerns raised about the cuts made to the policing budget I am very keen to witness the direct impact it may have on neighbourhood policing teams.
“The level of cuts required will fundamentally change how and where policing is delivered and it is likely that this change will be seen and felt by the community.
“Early this year the Chief Constable, George Hamilton stated that it was likely to mean a service with virtually no preventative capability, neighbourhood policing would be eliminated in all but a small number of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods and as a service we would be primarily focused on emergency response policing and serious harm policing .”
District Commander, Superintendent Wright said: “I was delighted to host Mrs Hale’s visit to Lisburn and Castlereagh City District Command Unit.
“It was an opportunity for me to hear some of the feedback that she receives from the public and I was able to provide her with an insight into the practical and day to day running of a busy policing District.
“I think that it is important and, ultimately, it is in the interests of our communities that our public representatives have an informed understanding of the practicalities of policing a diverse society.
“It is widely known that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing considerable challenges as result of budgetary constraints across the public sector and consequently policing is having to adapt.
“Regardless of the challenges that we face, we are totally committed to providing a professional and community driven policing service and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep the people of Lisburn and Castlereagh safe.”
Speaking after the patrol, Mrs Hales said: “The evening began with a visit to the control centre in Castlereagh PSNI station where all 101 and 999 calls are handled followed up with a call to Lisburn City CCTV.
“It is reassuring to know that the PSNI are responding to calls with reliable information and CCTV back up. Officers are expected to respond to all manner of calls and the individuals I spent Friday evening with instil a professional confidence in the job that we ask them to do and they have every right to expect our support.”