‘We will deal with paramilitaries’

Superintendent John Magill.
Superintendent John Magill.
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The District Police Commander for Causeway Coast and Glens has said that police will ‘continue to deal’ with loyalist paramilitaries in North Antrim.

Superintendant John Magill was speaking at a briefing at Coleraine Police Station last week.

The District Commander was outlining changes to the local policing structure. The new structure, which came into force on Monday, will see officers being tasked to one of two teams - a local policing team or a neighbourhood policing team.

The senior officer explained that police patrols would be targeted to local needs adding that ‘visibility is important’, but that it ‘has to have a purpose’.

“My priority is to have officers on the ground dealing with crime,” said Supt Magill.

As the Commander spoke about local policing issues, he was adamant that his officers would deal with loyalist paramilitary crime across the North Antrim area.

He referred to the murder of Ballymoney man Brian McIlhagga in his Riverview Park home back in January, and three further attacks in March, one in Bushmills and two others in Ballymoney.

“I just want to thank the community for their support. Without it we couldn’t target those involved in paramilitary crime.

“The brutality and wickedness shown to others is unacceptable. We have had a man murdered and others left with life threatening injuries.

“We will continue to deal with the issue,” he said.

Supt Magill said that ‘a number’ of people had been reported to the Public Prosecution Service in relation to paramilitary activity in the area.

The Commander went on to talk about the problem of drugs in the area, he paid tribute to his officers and the public, “I know it is a concern,” he said.

“We have made numerous seizures across the District and we have a good flow of information from the community.

“We cannot deal with this alone,” he said.