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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Extra police deployed in Belfast after several assaults and attempted murders

The PSNI has responded to over 100 incidents of serious crime since February 2013.

File photo of members of the PSNI undergoing riot training.
File photo of members of the PSNI undergoing riot training.
Image: Andrew Matthews

EXTRA POLICE ARE being deployed in North Belfast following a spate of crimes in the area.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed that more police are needed due to “numerous reports of assault, intimidation, harassment, numerous threats to kill, grievous bodily harm, arson, criminal damage and attempted murder”.

Since 14 February 2013, police in North Belfast have responded to in excess of 100 incidents between conflicting factions of the same community.

Chief Inspector Robert Singleton, Area Commander for North Belfast, said that “given the serious nature of the incidents that we are responding to and the risk to life that these pose, we have no option but to put a very visible police presence into this area”.

“On 11 August 2014, a property in the Westland Way area had shots fired at the front door and then on 20 August 2014 a male was shot in the thigh in the Wallasey Park area. These are incidents that could have resulted in fatalities.”

Where there is intimidation and harassment, often these incidents generate a level of fear which can mean that victims are unwilling to give statements in relation to police. This does not in any way diminish the responsibility that we have to protect life.

Singleton said that police would use a range of tactics to keep the area safe, including vehicle checkpoints.

He said that several families have moved out of the area “as a direct result of tensions.”

Searches

Following a search conducted at several properties on 9 November, a 37-year-old man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting police. A number of combat style jackets and balaclavas were also seized during one of the searches and these have been taken for forensic examination.

Singleton added that police are “keen to work with local communities, elected representatives and people of influence” to help tackle the rise in crime.

He urged anyone that has concerns linked to community safety to contact the PSNI on 101 or, in the case of an emergency, 999. Alternatively, information can also be provided anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Órla Ryan

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