AN ATTEMPT to ease the fears of Ballyrobert residents that a sex offender may be living in their village backfired on police this week.
On Monday night, residents, parents, councillors and MLAs packed The Thompson Primary School assembly hall for a meeting about how police and other agencies manage sexual and violent offenders.
The meeting was called after rumours swept the village that there may be a convicted sex offender living in the area.
Police refused to say if there was an individual convicted of sexual offences living in the area, but added the likelihood of anyone re-offending under their management was “rare”.
They revealed that patrols had been increased in the village as an attempt to reassure the public of their safety.
The North Eastern Education and Library Board explained the laws governing how children are protected and school Principal Mrs Lutton said tight controls were in place to protect the children and the school had more than the required number of classroom assistants supervising in the playground.
Emotions were high among parents with many saying they felt it was now unsafe to allow their young children to play outside.
Some said they were considering taking their children out of the school until the matter was resolved, while others suggested setting up a petition to try and get the authorities to act.
At the end of the meeting many parents said they felt the event was a “waste of time”.
During the meeting, PSNI Inspector Martin Ruddy said: “I have made a tactical mistake here. This meeting was designed to ease community concerns but instead it may have achieved the opposite of what I set out to do and heightened those fears.”
Read the full story in this week’s Times...