Community policing must be protected, Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said after he attended a Lurgan DEA meeting to raise concerns around cuts to the budget.
Mr O’Dowd said: “Cuts to community policing have a significant impact on how policing is carried out across Upper Bann. More significantly cuts undermine community confidence in policing which the PSNI, elected reps and community activists have worked hard to build.
“Recently local policing budgets have been cut and resources redirected. The knock on effect of this is that local communities increasingly become victims of crime.
“Most recently, in the Lurgan area, an increased number of burglaries have taken place.
“There is no doubt that there is direct correlation between increased crime and cuts. Cuts which have come about as a direct result of the austerity agenda of the DUP-Tory coalition. As always it is the isolated and vulnerable who suffer most.
“I raised my concerns at this meeting and I, along with party colleagues, will challenge any further cuts to community policing.
“Community policing is essential to community safety and confidence in the PSNI and must be protected.”