New £20m strategy aims to cut crime

Robert Hill
Robert Hill
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THE Chairman of Newtownabbey’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) is hopeful that the government’s new £20million community safety strategy will help reduce crime across the borough.

Launched this week by Justice Minister David Ford, the ‘Community Safety Strategy - Building Safer, Shared and Confident Communities’ initiative will fund regional projects and support the new PCSPs to address crime and fear of crime at a local level.

David Ford.

David Ford.

The overall aim of the strategy is to help build safer communities, with lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour; shared communities, where each person’s rights are respected; and confident communities, where people feel safe and have confidence in the agencies that serve them.

Eight action plans will be developed to deliver the strategy. These will focus on key strands such as alcohol and drugs, anti-social behaviour, business and rural crime, domestic violence and sexual violence, hate crime, interfaces and safety of older people.

Local PCSP Chairman, councillor Robert Hill said: “The role of the PCSP in implementing the plan will be to engage with statutory groups and the local community to identify the concerns of our residents and listen to their ideas on how to tackle these problems and put together a plan to deliver programmes which will hopefully result in a reduction in crime and fear of crime in our community. We will also ensure police time and resources are concentrated in the correct direction and on the issues of concern to our residents.”

One new initiative - the cross-community Zest Youth Zone based at the Valley Leisure Centre - is already up and running. But Councillor Hill says other projects will be developed in the coming weeks and months.

“At our next meeting on August 13 we will discuss old and new initiatives and hopefully agree an action plan to take us through to March 2013,” he added.