Irwin discusses rural crime with PSNI

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Newry & Armagh Assembly member Cllr. William Irwin MLA has met with senior PSNI officers in Armagh to discuss the on-going concerns with regards to rural crime in the District. Describing the meeting as “useful and constructive” Cllr. Irwin MLA said he was encouraged with aspects of the PSNI’s approach to dealing with the problem of rural crime and welcomed the opportunity to discuss the matters in detail. He stated, “I felt it was important to meet the Area Commander Ken Mawhinney  and Inspector Nigel Graham to discuss the issues that are concerning the public most in our rural areas. Obviously farm machinery theft has been a source of concern for some months now and I have spoken to many people who have had valuable equipment stolen and they are rightly concerned at the situation. Reviewing Police figures for reported crimes actually shows a decrease in incidents over the past six months, however there have been some notable incidents where expensive tractors and machinery have been taken which have had a high profile in the media and amongst farmers.” He said, “It was interesting to hear of the initiatives that the local Police are taking forward and they have been having some detection success in these matters which I am not at liberty to discuss. However, there was a strong message from the PSNI in terms of farmers ensuring that items are well secured. It is vital that keys etc are not left in machines and that vehicles are immobilised during the night to make theft as difficult as possible, preventing theft is a key element in the fight against crime.” “I used this opportunity to put forward the views of farmers in the constituency who have had items stolen from them and in some cases on more than one occasion, so I felt it was important to ensure that the Police are aware of the depth of feeling on this issue in the rural community.” Irwin concluded, “The data I viewed showed a wide range of items being stolen from tractors right down to chainsaws and I would urge people to ensure that items aren’t left in easy reach for criminals and that we take steps to ensure valuable equipment if left for longer periods is hemmed in with other items of machinery to make it less attractive to thieves. I am still of the opinion that a greater visible police presence on our roads would dent the confidence that criminals seem to have at the moment and hopefully more resources can be put on the ground to send a message that criminals will be caught.”
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