‘We are taking these reports seriously’

Ben Nutt, Amy Irvine and Aaron Brolly from Mossley Primary School with PSNI Officers Heather Brown and Nicola Rooney at a Stranger Danger Workshop. INNT 42-402-RM

Ben Nutt, Amy Irvine and Aaron Brolly from Mossley Primary School with PSNI Officers Heather Brown and Nicola Rooney at a Stranger Danger Workshop. INNT 42-402-RM

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NEWTOWNABBEY’S most senior police officer has reassured concerned parents that detectives are carrying out a thorough investigation into reports of suspicious approaches to children.

There have been four reported incidents in recent weeks - at Fernagh Road on October 1, Green Walk, Rathcoole and Queens Park, Glengormley on October 2, and Tulleevin Walk, Rathfern on October 10.

Responding to calls from concerned parents for information about the incidents and what’s being done to ensure the safety of children, PSNI Area Commander, Chief Inspector Stephen Reid, said: “Detectives continue to thoroughly investigate the reported suspicious approaches and seek to confirm or rule out any connection between them. 
“I am conscious that the reports have caused a degree concern among parents and I can assure the community that we as a police service are taking the reports seriously. I would also stress that while incidents of this nature are rare, we consider it good sense for everyone to engage in sensible, measured conversation around the issue, raising awareness without causing fear.”

He added: “Police have been meeting with a number of representative groups locally like the Policing and Community Safety Partnership, schools and clergy and further meetings with other community representatives are taking place and will continue to take place over coming days. I personally have also spoken to a number of the parents (who have reported incidents) and will endeavour to make direct contact with others as a matter of priority.

“Local Newtownabbey CID officers continue to carry out comprehensive enquiries into each of the reports while Response and Neighbourhood officers are engaged in high visibility patrols as well as talking to local youth and community groups offering advice and support as necessary.”

Anyone with concerns about child safety in their area should approach a police officer on patrol, contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team - contact details available online at www.psni.police.uk - or call 0845 600 8000.