Drugs, roads deaths and an assault on a local pensioner were all issues up for discussion at a recent meeting of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership held in Rathfriland.
Vice Chair of the PCSP, Jonathan Murphy, said: “The meeting was a follow up to the community meeting that we had in September, and was an opportunity for local people to hear about what we’ve done about the issues they raised last time, including Road Safety, Drugs and the theft of farm equipment.
“The District’s Alcohol and Drug Strategy aims to give people the confidence to report to the Police what they see and hear, as well as properly educating young people about drugs - including alcohol- in a way that they can relate to.
“In the upcoming months we have a series of interactive workshops in schools about road safety- and we hope that this will help reduce the number of deaths in the area on the roads, particularly black spots like the Rathfriland and Castlewellan Roads, as the majority of those killed and seriously injured are young passengers and drivers.
“For me, the target number of road deaths and injuries is zero - and I believe this is achievable by talking with, not just talking to, young people. As a young driver myself, I know how important this is, and I will be working to ensure that this continues to be a PCSP priority.
“Another priority that was discussed on Wednesday night was farm thefts. Farmers are businesspeople, struggling like any other in the current economy - and just like shops and other businesses; they need help from all parts of local government.
“Banbridge PCSP will continue to support farmers through the Farmwatch scheme and by raising awareness of other support coming from Stormont.”
He went on: “The attack on an elderly woman last week in Rathfriland was an horrific crime - one that warrants a strong response and the full force of the law. I want to thank Inspector Badger for his reassurances to us that he is doing all he can regarding this matter.
“I would also like to thank him for his report on the Crime statistics for the area. He made it clear that while crime is coming down, he, Sergeant Ferguson and the rest of the team are remaining vigilant.
“We also distributed to local Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators some of our “No Cold Calling stickers” to distribute around their areas.”