Amid speculation that drug dealers might have had a hand in a hoax bomb alert ahead of last week’s PCSP meeting, members insist the delayed event was a great success.
The Policing and Community Safety Partnership had just wound up a private meeting and were about to join members of the public for a discussion on drugs and alcohol misuse when police announced there had been a bomb warning.
Some 30-45 minutes later the alert had been declared a hoax and the meeting went ahead.
PCSP member Councillor Glenn Barr first praised the police response.
“The police came and told us to stay where we were while they got down to the business of searching the place,” he said. “It took them about half an hour to search the building and general area and it was a credit to them.”
Surmising that those responsible must have been unhappy about the theme of the meeting, he added, “Although the meeting was delayed for a bit we then carried on.
“At the end of the day we don’t want these kind of people about the place.
“I have always been proactive in the fight against drugs and will continue to be so as long as I am in an elected role and this event will not stop us trying to combat the drugs problem”.
PCSP colleague Seamus Doyle said the meeting, at which the uncharacteristically high attendance has been deemed indicative of the level of local concern on the subject, was arguably one of the biggest and best of its kind to date.
“Obviously,” he said, “we have to condemn whoever sent in the bomb warning, but the meeting went ahead and it was probably one of the best meetings we’ve ever had in Banbridge.
“The people of Banbridge don’t want this sort of incident and they don’t want the drugs there.
“There was a big crowd and it was an extremely good meeting. Obviously people are interested in addressing this issue.”