Larne public ‘fleeced’ by policing fees

PSNI
PSNI

A Mid and East Antrim councillor has accused the PSNI of trying to “fleece” local residents by charging for special police services.

The new policy will see a fee applied to organisations and individuals who request police services for an array of events.

Charges will vary depending on the type of event, such as whether it is commercial or non-commercial .

Cllr Jim Brown voiced his concerns over the policy, which he claimed would effectively amount to people paying for services twice.

At the latest meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee, Cllr Brown said: “Here we see another way of fleecing the civilian population of this province.

“This is a back door way of raising finance, which should be raised by the central Exchequer.”

Larne Lough councillor Andy Wilson said that while he did not disagree with Cllr Brown’s sentiments, he pointed out that police forces in other parts of the UK have been adopting a similar policy “for quite a while”.

As the PSNI’s policy stands, events organised by councils fall under the non-commercial category, which use a scoring process to determine whether full, partial or no charges should be made.

However, MEA Council recommended that local government should be categorised along with NI Executive events, which could potentially see a discount applied.

The council also proposed that members note the detail of the PSNI policy.

But Cllr Brown expressed concern with the recommendation and felt that members should be “strong in their opposition” to the policy.

Coast Road representative Cllr Gordon Lyons said that while the PSNI’s policy was “wrong he in principle”, he added: “We live in the real world.”

The recommendation was altered to allow members to note the detail, while also expressing their strong objections to the policy.