New body aims to engage public in policing and community safety issues

THE first public meeting of Larne’s new Policing and Community Safety Partnership was held in the Town Hall on Thursday, January 24.

Larne Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey explained that the new body is charged with consulting and engaging with the local community on issues of concern in relation to policing and community safety.

The PCSP is a statutory body established under the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 that brings together, in one partnership, the functions and responsibilities of the former Larne District Policing Partnership (DPP) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSP). It is funded jointly by the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

The body’s remit is to consult and engage with the local community on issues of concern in relation to policing and community safety.

Within it, the PCSP Policing Committee has a distinct responsibility to provide views to the relevant district commander and the Policing Board on policing matters, including to identify and prioritise the particular issues of concern and prepare plans for how these can be tackled; monitor police performance and work to gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime; and deliver a reduction in crime and enhance community safety in the district.

The new Larne PCSP is made up of 10 elected members and nine independent members who successfully went through a selection process. A number of statutory bodies are also involved.

Current chairman of the body is Councillor Winston Fulton, with independent member Tommy Mayne as deputy chair.

Other members are:

Elected – Councillors Roy Craig, Martin Wilson, Bobby McKee, Maureen Morrow, James McKeown, Councillor Michael Lynch, Mark McKinty, Gregg McKeen and Alderman Jack McKee. Prior to the first public meeting Ald McKee indicated he was resigning from the body in protest over the PSNI handling of the current flag protests.

Independent – Laura Hamill, Jonathan Hodge, Laurence Wilson Patricia McNeill, Terry McCaughan, Mary Watson, Crawford Wilson and Andy Wilson.

Mrs McGahey said the public meetings of the PCSP were all about engaging with the community and giving people the chance to express their views. She described them as “interactive” meetings with members of the pubic encouraged to take part.

It is also intended for a number of different themes to be covered in future public meetings, 
she said.