Vigilance must not become vigilante, PSNI warns

December 5, 2016

Community-led patrols aimed at combating the recent surge in burglaries in areas of Newry and south Armagh must not become “vigilante activity”, the PSNI has warned.

District Commander for Newry, Mourne and Down, Supt. Paul Reid, said officers are aware that members of the community have been carrying out patrols in various areas and voiced caution that this practice should not “become vigilante activity”.

“I am aware of the concerns within communities, especially in the wake of the series of burglaries recently.  It is important that this vigilance does not become vigilante activity. Such activity would not be tolerated in a peaceful society and I would caution any individual or group against taking the law into their own hands. Those who do may themselves risk committing offences that may subsequently leave them liable to prosecution.”

Supt. Reid said much good work is being undertaken by Neighbourhood Watch groups, of which there are around 170 across the district and encouraging people to consider joining their nearest group or to discuss how they might form a new group in their own area, he revealed that advice is available from the police and the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

“The public can be assured that the police will continue to work in partnership with community groups and other statutory agencies to reduce the level of anti-social behaviour and all other forms of crime across the wider Newry area,” he said.

“Anyone who has any information regarding crime and antisocial behaviour in the area has a responsibility to contact police so that the matter can be fully investigated. The telephone number to ring is 101, or contact the Crimestoppers charity on Freephone 0800 555111.”

Chair of Newry Mourne and Down PCSP, Councillor Brian Quinn is urging the public to work together to address the increase in burglaries that has occurred in recent weeks.

He said the group actively promotes and supports communities working together to address crime in their areas, pointing out that there area a number of ways this can be achieved.

“Neighbourhood Watch is an excellent scheme that has been proven to be an effective deterrent in supporting communities to look out for each and report suspicious activity. Members of the public can also sign up to Text Alert scheme to receive PSNI updates direct to your mobile on what to look for and how to report suspicious activity,” he advised.

Anybody seeking information on Neighbourhood Watch or to sign up to Text Alert should contact the PCSP office on 028 30313078.