a LARNE community representative has claimed that neighbourhood policing has all but ceased in his estate.
Bertie Shaw, chairman of Seacourt Community Council, said that in the past there had been a good partnership between the community and neighbourhood officers, but now he felt police were rarely seen in the area.
“It’s the same in other neighbourhoods in the town. No officers have engaged with me over the past 12 weeks or so. It seems that neighbourhood policing has been edged out and according to what I’m hearing from other community representatives, it’s the same in Sallagh Park and St John’s Place too.
“Residents take comfort when they see a uniformed officer in the area and it helps to build up relationships between the police and the community. It also helps to deter anyone from carrying out antisocial behaviour or vandalism.
“I’d like to know what’s happening with policing in the area. It used to be that there was a good relationship, but now policing seems to have disappeared. Community representatives feel that they have no voice to air their concerns,” he claimed.
A spokesman for the PSNI said there had been no change of policy regarding neighbourhood policing in Larne and that the local neighbourhood teams are still providing a “very strong, visible presence”.
“Police in Larne have always had a very good relationship with the community,” he said, referring to figures that show that reports of antisocial behaviour have dropped by 13.5 per cent over the past year and criminal damage also down by 30.6 per cent.
“The detection of antisocial behaviour and criminal damage have dropped quite significantly as a result of members of the public notifying police about their concerns,” he said.
The spokesman stressed that nothing had changed regarding neighbourhood policing and sought to assure community representatives that their contribution continued to be invaluable.
He said the police were always glad to engage with elected and community representatives, as well as members of the public.