Chief says rise in sectarian crimes is ‘worrying’

Superintendent John Magill.
Superintendent John Magill.

A police chief has vowed to stamp out sectarian hate crimes in the Coleraine area, after figures released this week revealed that there were over 80 recorded incidents in the past year.

The figures, detailing incidents from April 2014 to April 2015 showed an overall rise in recorded crimes in the Coleraine area.

Commenting on the figures, Superintendent John Magill said there is “work to be done”.

In light of the figures, the Police Chief has vowed to tackle sectarian crimes in the area.

This type of crime saw an of 18 percent in the past year, with 81 recorded incidents.

Superintendent Magill described the increase as a ‘worrying development’ and said that the community had a part to play in reducing crimes like these.

“The rise in sectarian hate crime is a worrying development, with 81 incidents recorded last year,” said Superintendent Magill.

“It will take a concerted effort by all within our communities to curb these incidents.

“This summer, visitors from around Northern Ireland, and indeed the world, will come to the North Coast to take in the sight and sounds.

“Coleraine and the Causeway Coast has so much to offer, and it is time for sectarianism to be consigned to the past.

“Police will play our part by investigating hate incidents, and making efforts to bring people before the courts, but everyone in the community must support a zero tolerance approach to any type of hate crime.”

The Police Chief noted the 2.7 percent rise in all recorded crimes in Coleraine.

“There was a 2.7 percent rise in recorded crime in Coleraine last year. However, the figures give rise to some good news stories, there has been a 7% drop in burglary, a rise in drug detections and a 3.8% drop in anti-social behaviour.”

He added: “We know from our work with victims of crime that every incident has an impact on individuals, families and the community as a whole. Police remain committed to keeping people safe and we will work hard with the community and partner agencies into the future.”

There was also an increase in sexual offences, which was up by 25 percent.

“This represents a rise of 17 incidents last year,” explained the Police Chief. “ The important point is that people are reporting sexual offences to police and have the confidence to speak up. The work of the PSNI Public Protection Unit in working with victims and monitoring registered sex offenders is often unseen but highly specialised and important.”

THE FIGURES: Drugs offences – up by 8%; Burglary - down 7%; Sexual offences – up by 25%; Anti-social behaviour (ASB) – down by 3.8%; Violence against the person – up by 2%