PCSP cuts ‘could lead to deaths’ in Larne, says council report

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PCSP funding cuts may lead to injury or death, an increase in anti-social behaviour, and domestic violence victims living in fear, says a council report.

The report, which was due to come before MEA Borough Council on October 13, reveals the consequences for community groups who lost their PCSP funding as of September 30 after the Department of Justice cut Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP)’s budget from £340,026 to £170,013.

MEA PCSP has only £7,140 left uncommitted and available to support its work until March 2016.

One of the groups affected, Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAPP), previously received PCSP funding for the Larne Home Security programme, which tackled crime and the fear of crime as well as supporting vulnerable people over 50. The report says that loss of funding will result in vulnerable people falling prey to cold callers and scams, and increased mental health and stress-related health issues.

A cut in Larne YMCA’s Keeping Young People Safe programme, which deals with anti bullying and road safety, could result in 100 school children missing out on anti bullying training. There would also be a loss of support for young bullying victims and increased poor mental health and anxiety. The report warns of “possible injury or death as a consequence of abandoning” Larne YMCA’s road safety project if funding is lost.

Also affected will be Seacourt Youth Club, which previously used its grant to help around 60 young people address anti-social behaviour such as alcohol, drugs, sectarianism, criminal damage and teenage pregnancy. The council report warns that loss of funding could result in increased anti-social behaviour, minor theft, drug abuse and teenage pregnancies.

Meanwhile, the PSNI’s Fear of Crime reduction scheme, supported victims of burglaries, domestic violence and the vulnerable, has also lost PCSP funding. The report advises that this could result in vulnerable people falling prey to cold callers and door to door scams.

PAL Larne’s Outreach Project previously used PCSP funding to tackle substance misuse. The report warns that the funding loss could lead to a lack of awareness over legal and illegal highs.

The council is seeking to implement a tender process to appoint a town centre warden, community safety warden, criminal justice support worker, four tier security scheme and clean neighbourhood scheme should funds become available. It is also seeking to authorise the Chief Executive to address urgent and sensitive graffiti issues in the Mid and East Antrim area.