Crime rise raises question about community policing for G8

Published: 4 Jul 2013 15:000 comments

ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has questioned the level of community policing during the G8 summit last month after it emerged crime in North Fermanagh has increased.

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Mr Elliott says "a number of community police officers" were taken from their regular duty in the weeks leading up to, and during the summit, with many of them tasked to focus on G8-related work.

"I am conscious that crime levels have risen in a number of areas and I am obviously worried that some police officers haven't had the opportunity to work in their own area during the long period of the overall G8 operation.

"It is important that even though this was a very important event the wider community of Fermanagh require the services of police, I trust that they will now have the time and opportunity to devote to those local communities that may not have had the level of police attention they would expect during the past four months," said Mr Elliott.

The PSNI has confirmed that crime in Irvinestown has shown a "slight increase" and attribute it primarily to a series of burglaries of unoccupied properties during late May. "This series is the subject of a live and focused investigation," said a PSNI spokesperson.

The police say that during the G8 Summit and the run up to it they took steps to ensure that local core policing responsibilities were met.

"There was an increased profile of PSNI patrolling across Fermanagh for a number of months prior to G8, this was gradually increased on the approach to the event. This increase was possible due to the provision of officers from across the service into Fermanagh. Some local officers were redeployed within the last two weeks prior to G8. A lot of these officers maintained involvement in their normal duties but assisted with the G8 operation, during which time there was not an increase in crime," said a PSNI spokesperson.

The police state that maintaining normal service delivery and meeting the ongoing needs of the community was a "key consideration" in selecting the officers that remained at their normal duty location prior to and during the summit in Enniskillen.

The PSNI spokesperson added: "Our primary aim was to ensure the G8 Summit was a safe and secure event for all concerned - primarily for our local community but also for visitors, delegates and campaigners. This included ensuring the community was protected from opportunist criminals, whilst a lot of attention was focused on the G8 and related activities."

Meanwhile, Tom Elliott wants to know why initial figures for hosting the G8 summit were "so wrong and inaccurate" after it was revealed this week that it cost £80 million.

"It is not that long ago since we were informed that the G8 would cost in the region of £50 million, then just a few weeks ago it was estimated at £60 million, now we hear the cost has been £80 million. This is over a 60 per cent increase in projections over what were very large sums of money to begin with," said Mr Elliott.

"Given this significant increase in costs many people will be asking if that is the final figure, or indeed if there will be further financial costs and if the £20 million that is required from the Northern Ireland Executive will be added to. We don't want to be informed of further finances required over the forthcoming months and years. While many people agree that the G8 was a very successful event, an £80 million bill is massive for an event that essentially lasted just over one day," he said.

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