Area Commander: ‘There IS confidence in the local police’

Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, of Coleraine PSNI.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson, of Coleraine PSNI.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

COLERAINE Area Commander, Chief Inspector Nicky Thompson has challenged a local councillor following his claims that the people of the Heights have no confidence in the PSNI.

Last week, DUP councillor George Duddy stated that increasing crime rates and low clearance rates were the reasons behind the lack of confidence.

Councillor Duddy had obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request.

The statistics obtained by the councillor, for the Coleraine central ward, indicated that crimes such as anti social behaviour, criminal damage and assault were on the rise.

In an exclusive interview with The Times this week, Chief Inspector Thompson stated that the figures were not correct, given that they were for the Coleraine central ward which does not include the Heights area.

He branded the figures ‘misleading’ and said that the correct ones do not support the councillor’s views.

Chief Inspector Thompson highlighted figures for the Churchlands ward, which includes the Heights area, which indicate that crime has in fact reduced in the past four years.

Taking his figures from the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information website, which the police feed into, the Area Commander says that in the last four years crime has reduced in Churchlands by 42 percent.

Breaking these figures down further, Chief Inspector Thompson indicates that crimes against the person have fallen from 101 in 08/09 to 55 last year - a 45 percent drop.

Criminal damage figures also show a reduction, 75 reports in 08/09 compared to 47 last year - a reduction of 37 percent.

The Area Commander also pointed out that there were no incidents of robbery or burglary in the Churchlands ward in the last four years.

“I think that it is very clear from the figures that there is confidence in the police in the Churchlands area.

“Overall crime is down by 42 percent in that particular area.

“I would encourage members of the public and indeed local councillors to work with us in a bid to tackle crime, not only in the Churchlands area, but in all areas of the Borough.