Minutes of Proceedings of a PUBLIC MEETING of the
ARMAGH DISTRICT POLICING PARTNERSHIP
Held in St. Patrick‟s High School, Keady on
Thursday, 11th May, 2006 at 7.30 p.m.
Presiding Chairman: Councillor W. Irwin
Other Members: Councillor Mrs. M. H. Black
Councillor P. Brannigan
Councillor M. Bratton
Mrs. Carol Burnett
Councillor Mrs. F. Donnelly
Mrs. Diane Hynds
Mrs. Kathy Magee
Councillor G. Mallon
Mrs. Cathy McCann
Mr. Peader McKenna
Councillor C. Rollston
Mr. Brian Sandford
Mr. Victor Brownlees
Councillor N. Donnelly
Mrs. Cathy McCann
Mrs. Liz McGinn
Mr. Brian Rowntree
In Attendance: Head of Policy and Democratic Services
Administrative Officer (W. Geary)
Superintendent Bob Moore )
Inspector Jim Fulton )
Detective Inspector Jenny Cartmill) - PSNI
Inspector Andy McFarland )
It was noted that apologies had been received from Mr. Victor Brownlees,
Councillor N. Donnelly, Mrs. Cathy McCann, Mrs. Liz McGinn and
Mr. Brian Rowntree.
2.0 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
3.0 REPORT ON THE DISTRICT COMMANDER’S COMMITMENT TO
POLICING OF THE MIDDLETOWN STATION AREA BY
SUPERINTENDENT BOB MOORE – (Appendix 1)
3.1 Presentation of Report by Superintendent Bob Moore
In introducing his report, Superintendent Moore said he had hoped to have
statistics released to him to complete end of year validated figures, but
because of the timing of the meeting, it had not been possible to include these
in the DPP report that had been by necessity published in advance of the
meeting. He further advised that in the interim, the final end of year figures
had been released and a copy was circulated to everyone present. (Appendix
He explained that he would be covering the period contained within the
published DPP Report from 1st April 2005 to 19th March 2006 inclusive. Any
comparisons would therefore relate to the same period last year ie 1st April
2004 to 31st March 2005. He indicated that he would be reporting on those
issues pertaining to the Armagh District Policing Plan for which the police had
specific targets, namely Domestic Burglaries, Vehicle Crime, Violent Crime,
Criminal Damage and Road Traffic Collisions. He added that he would
provide updated end of year figures as he went through the published DPP
report and in response to one of the questions submitted by the DPP
Monitoring Sub-Group, which would be dealt with later.
In terms of the target to reduce the number of domestic burglaries by 30, it
was noted that this figure had increased by 4.3% to 267. Superintendent
Moore stated that burglary in the district had increased by 6.2% on 2004/05
but 2 significant arrests had been made which should help improve the
In relation to the target to reduce the number of violent crimes by 35, this
figure showed a reduction from 718 in 2004/05 to 695 in 2005/06 and while
this achieved the service wide policing plan objective, it did not meet the DPP
With regard to the target to reduce the number of criminal damage offences by
30, Superintendent Moore stated that there was an increase from 571 in
2004/05 to 596 in 2005/06 which he said could be attributed to youths being
off school during July.
With regard to improved investigation and increased detection, Superintendent
Moore stated that he was pleased to report a 92.3% increase. He said this was
due to continued targeting of hotspot areas with offenders being identified and
successful operations being carried out. In terms of arrests, there were 104
drug related arrests which represented an increase of 62.5%.
It was noted that the number of detections for public drinking had increased
from 41 in 2004/05 to 80 in 2005/06 which represented an increase of 95.1%.
The number of detections for underage drinking had increased from 13 in
2004/05 to 70 in 2005/06 which represented an increase of 438.5%. Members
were advised that continued targeted patrolling and the seizure of alcohol from
underage offenders had helped maintain a high detection rate.
With regard to the target to increase the number of detections for public
drinking, there was a welcome increase from 96 detections in 2004/05 to 158
detections in 2005/06. This increase of 64.5% was a result of the continued
focus on speeding and the deployment of the speed trailer. By way of update
Superintendent Moore indicated that the year end figure showed a total of 169
detections which represented an increase of 53.6%.
Members noted that the number of detections for driving whilst impaired
through drink and/or drugs had increased from 141 in 2004/05 to 329 in
2005/06 and the increased use of the FIT test. By way of update
Superintendent Moore indicated that the year end figure showed a total of 363
detections representing an increase of 145.2%.
With regard to non-wearing of seat belts, it was noted that the figure for
detections had decreased from 425 in 2004/05 to 410 in 2005/06. It was
pointed out, however, that the Armagh DCU had the 7th highest detection rate
in this area. By way of update Superintendent Moore indicated that the year
end figure showed 465 detections which was a decrease of -10.7%.
With regard to the number of detections for careless/dangerous driving
offences, it was noted that these had decreased from 255 in 2004/05 to 202 in
2005/06. Superintendent Moore advised that further discrepancies in the
accounting detections for this target had been identified in the district and this
was currently in the process of being rectified. A further 83 detections needed
to be added bringing the final total figure to 338 which would show that the
district did in fact achieve this target. By way of update Superintendent
Moore indicated that the year end figure showed 301 detections which
represented a increase in the number of detections of 4.8%. In terms of
casualties from careless/dangerous driving offences, Superintendent Moore
stated that the number of serious injuries had gone up from 45 to 52 in the last
financial year. However the number of fatalities had reduced from 8 in 2004
to 4 in 2005.
The District Commander went on to explain how police are contributing
towards Community Safety in Partnership with many statutory and voluntary
bodies including the District Policing Partnership, Community Safety
Partnership and Community Policing Liaison Committees and Local District
Council in order to combat crime and the fear of crime. He pointed out that
Community Safety and promoting Public Safety will be a key element in the
2006-2007 local policing plan with much good work has been done to date.
Superintendent Moore explained that the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme of
which there were now 12 with another 8 under consideration play a vital part
in efforts to combat crime and fear of crime. He would thanked the
Community Safety Partnership and the Community Police Liaison
Committees for their help and support in this area.
Members were advised that Midnight Street Soccer was introduced in Keady
and Tandragee areas in an effort to get kids off the streets late at night at the
weekends. These projects were once again carried out with local community
leaders and co-funded through the Community Safety Partnership.
Members were advised that analysis and reviews of these projects had shown a
positive impact in PSNI efforts to outreach, support, divert and educate those
involved and increase public safety in general. This was a trend, which it was
hoped would continue and expand as PSNI entered a new year of the policing
The Chairman thanked Superintendent Moore for presenting his report.
3.2 Questions from Performance Sub-Group
Members were advised that the Performance Sub-Group met on 2nd May, 2006
to discuss the District Commander‟s 12 Month Brief (April 2005 – March
2006). The following questions had been formulated which the District
Commander was then asked to reply to –
Taking leave, sickness and officers who work 9 – 5 into consideration,
how many officers are available per normal shift? What sort of duties do
they perform and how many can be out on patrol in each shift?
Inspector Andy McFarland stated that on an average Early or Night shift
Armagh Station had 2 Sergeants and 14 Constables detailed for response duty
in the Armagh City Policing Sector. Out of these 16 Officers, 4 Constables
were required to perform Security Duties at Armagh and Gough Barracks, 2
Constables were required to perform duties in the Communications Room,
Armagh and if there were detained persons in the Custody Suite a Sergeant
performed the role of Custody Officer and a Constable performed the role of
Gaoler. This left at least 1 Sergeant and 7 Constables for response policing in
the Armagh City Sector for both the Early and Night turns of duty per day.
On an average Early or Late shift both Tandragee and Keady Sectors had each
1 Sergeant and 5 Constables detailed for response policing in their respective
areas. These Officers had no security duties or Custody Duties to perform.
These Officers were all available to perform operational duty with the
exception of covering Limited Opening Hours on evenings (2 Officers) for a
maximum of 2 hours.
Patrolling was also supplemented by the Neighbourhood Policing Unit (1
Sergeant and 4 Constables) and the Operational Policing Team (1 Sergeant
and 4 Constables) who worked different Duty Rota‟s to response Officers, ie
Early and Late turns of duty.
All Police Officers/Units were tasked daily by the Operational Planning Office
in Armagh using a Daily Tasking Sheet which detailed priorities for policing
identified through the NIM Process. (National Intelligence Model). This was
updated daily to take account of new developments/trends/ intelligence/threats
These daily tasks would include:- Speed Detection Operations, Anti Crime
patrols in an identified problem area, Bail checks, Placing of Speed Trailer on
Primary Routes, Bicycle Patrols, attention to Post Offices/Banks, Vulnerable
Person Checks, Beats of identified problem area ie youth causing annoyance,
underage drinking. In essence patrolling was targeted at those issues identified
through NIM and continual analysis of daily events coming to the attention of
police within the DCU.
Has there been any change to policing priorities or resources dedicated to
domestic burglaries? Were areas particularly targeted by burglars given
more attention by patrols?
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that it was difficult to predict where
burglars were going to strike next, however, the DCU had patrols focusing on
areas targeted by burglars. Crime in the DCU was reviewed every morning
and as a result, patrols were tasked into „hotspot‟ areas.
As a result of press appeals, the public were now more aware of reporting
suspicious persons and vehicles. Following any such reports, patrols were
tasked into those areas.
Intelligence was similarly acted on.
How long has Operation Bullet been in force, to what extent has it
featured in the Armagh DCU and how effective has this been?
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that Operation Bullent had been in force
since January and had recently been headed by a new Commander. A „Gold
Command‟ meeting with representatives from all DCUs in Rural Region took
place monthly where crime patterns/suspects, etc, were shared and actioned.
In addition, the Crime Managers from Armagh, Craigavon, Newry and
Banbridge meet twice monthly.
As a result of sharing crime/intelligence, patrols were tasked into relevant
The last „Bullent‟ type incident in Armagh DCU was 11 March 2006 so it has
proven it‟s effectiveness.
How many of the reported violent crimes were against:
Detective Inspector Cartmill gave the following figures in relation to Violent
266 Crimes against Women
416 crimes against young males; 63 of which were under 17 yrs and
168 of which were between 17 yrs and 29 yrs
111 crimes against minors (male and female)
Please clarify the PSNIs definition of a minor.
Detective Inspector Cartmill said a minor was a young person under the age of
How effective has the serving of notification of closure orders been?
Inspector McFarland stated that Closure Orders were not served – proprietors
were only served notices of intention to seek closure Orders by Armagh City
and District Council. PSNI had recently been informed by the council that
substantive closure orders would not now be served.
Notwithstanding this, there had not been any incidents over the past few
months, which gave cause for concern. This was probably attributable to the
winter weather and the lack of major sporting events, which seemed to draw
large crowds for a post event drink. The situation continued to be monitored.
No further complaints from local residents had been received.
Can you go into more detail about the multi agency problem solving
approach you mention in Section 2?
Inspector Fulton reported that there were many fine examples of problem
solving initiatives across the District. Normally they were initiated when
incidents recur in an area over a period of time and response policing could
not address the source of the problem. On other occasions police may
instigate a problem solving approach to combat a problem before it arose.
One recent example was the Midnight Street Soccer in Tandragee. Local
Police were detecting youths smoking, drinking and being involved in low
level anti social behaviour in various locations in the town, namely the
Recreation Centre, Trotters Walk and in one of the housing estates, mostly late
evenings at the weekends. The Midnight Street Soccer was arranged over 5
weekends and included a number of the youths associated with the
aforementioned problems. During the course of the Soccer League various
presentations and demonstrations were given to the kids, such as:
A presentation from Armagh Group of Hospitals on Smoking
Roads Policing on Mopeds and Scooters
Breakthru on Drugs
So the problems were being address in two ways, through diversion and
through education. An evaluation of this project had shown that the scheme
had a very positive impact on the issues it was designed to address.
Congratulations on the excellent work in relation to the quantity of drugs
seized – keep it up. Do you get much co-operation from the public in
terms of reporting suspicious activity? How can the public help you to
increase arrests and seizures?
Inspector Fulton stated that most of the major drug seizures had been as a
result of intelligence coming from the public. The public could and did assist
PSNI by passing on any information or suspicions they had to them. One way
they could improve the flow of information would be if the information was
passed to the Police as soon as possible. Delay in reporting for whatever
reason has obvious implications for PSNI in responding to such information.
Will the DCU be advertising the fact that those who deal or use drugs in
the Armagh area will not get away with it?
Inspector Fulton stated that PSNI would take every opportunity to highlight its
successes and report the outcomes when an offender was charged, prosecuted
The increase in the number of arrests for drug related offences, in
addition to being a result of good policing might also be a reflection of an
increase in the use of drugs in the area. How many of the arrests related
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that since April 2005, PSNI had
approximately 100 drug seizures/arrests. Out of those, around 10 were
considered to be dealers and this would be mostly cannabis.
Well done again, keep spreading the word that people won’t get away
with underage or drinking in public.
What follow up is done by the Youth Diversion Officer when an underage
drinking offence is detected?
Inspector Fulton stated that all detections for underage drinking were referred
to the Youth Diversion Officer, Constable Wayne Johnston on an IRF (Initial
Report Form). The YDO and indeed the Uniformed Officer making the
detection had several options to deal with the offenders including:
Advice and Warning – „INFORMAL WARNING‟ usually given by the
Uniformed Officer with a record held by Police for 12 months.
Under Public Prosecution Service (PPS) the Youth Diversion Scheme and
Restorative Process could be used.
„INFORMED WARNING‟ was usually given by the YDO or the Divert
Worker. PPS – Court Prosecution – Conviction fine, Youth Conference
Service or on the direction of the RM Restorative Process – Breatkthru Divert.
Can you explain what the FIT Test entails and under what circumstances
would it be used?
Inspector McFarland stated that The Field Impairment Test (FIT) was a series
of tests, which helped an Officer to determine whether the subject‟s ability to
drive was impaired by drink or drugs. Invariably, because Officers were
equipped with SL2A Breath Testing devices for alcohol detection, the test was
usually only carried out on persons suspected of drug use.
The tests included pupil examination, ie size of pupil (Officer will have a
gauge) and a number of physical co-ordination tests such as standing on one
foot, counting, touching their nose, heel to toe walking, etc.
The tests were purely voluntary – if a person declined to do them the tests
were not conducted. Only trained, Authorized Officers could conduct the
If, at the conclusion of the test an Officer formed the opinion that the subject‟s
ability to drive was impaired, he would arrest the subject. A doctor must then
be called to conduct his own assessment. If the doctor, after his own
assessment of the subject, agreed that there was impairment, a blood or urine
specimen would be taken for analysis. If the doctor did not agree with the
Officer the procedure ended.
Does this decrease mean that more people are getting the message?
Inspector McFarland reported that the decrease in the Issue of Fixed Penalty
Notices could not necessarily be interpreted as a community that was more
compliant in terms of Seat Belt Wearing. Other issues were at work, and this
included the prioritising of police resources. Statistics indicated that the
situation in terms of collisions had not changed over the last two-year period.
There had been one collision more in the 2005/2006 year as compared to
2004/2005. There had been 11% increase in the number of injuries in the
2005/2006 period. It was difficult to draw conclusions, as the injuries
sustained may have no direct relevance to seatbelt wearing. In any event,
District Police had again been asked to focus on road traffic collisions, with
the enforcement of Seatbelt Wearing incorporated in these plans.
What exactly are the discrepancies in your figures and is this problem
Inspector McFarland stated that the discrepancies mentioned referred to the
collection of the actual figures. Other DCU's were including the statistics for
cautions and informed warnings given to drivers as well as prosecutions.
Armagh DCU was not. Also CRF's (Collision report forms) where Police did
attend but which recorded an accident were not in the figures. These forms
recorded a collision where the matter was resolved between the drivers
involved at the scene. As a collision had occurred there was undoubtedly a
minor form of carelessness. However these levels of carelessness did not reach
the point where Police action was felt appropriate in respect of prosecution,
cautions or informed warnings. These were now included in the figures.
Are you alarmed that three out of the four “Reducing Crime” targets are
Superintendent Moore stated that the validated end of year PSNI Crime
Figures had only just been released for the 2005/2006 Financial Year. They
varied from those contained within the DPP Report, which had just been
presented. However Superintendent Moore said he wished to refer to them in
responding to this question as they provided a more complete picture in terms
of District Performance over the year. A more comprehensive presentation on
all areas of performance being monitored could be made available at a later
date. For the purposes of this response Superintendent Moore intended to
refer to the headline offences only.
Clearly he was disappointed that despite a reduction of 12.6% over the past 3
years, this year the figures showed a rise of 12.8% in overall crime. Any
increase in crime must always be a matter of concern to the Police. They
would pay close attention to this and PSNI would work harder on crimes
which had gone up.
Analysis of the reasons for the increase painted a complex picture. An
increase of 333 Crimes over the 12 months included:
For the first time breaches of Non Molestation Orders were included in the
crime figures (52 extra reports of crime).
There were 129 more reports of domestic violence, which would appear to
indicate an increased willingness of victims to report this crime. It also
followed a number of Police initiatives and campaigns designed to encourage
victims to report crimes to Police throughout the year.
Proactive action and initiatives led to an extra 30 drugs offences being
Superintendent Moore was very pleased to report, however, the Armagh DCU
had the third highest clearance rate (41.3%) in the Province, which was
indicative of the tremendous effort put in by all staff to investigate crimes
professionally and diligently. In real terms 144 more crimes were cleared in
the year just past than 2004/2005.
Some of the increases in reported crime might be attributable to increases in
reporting from communities who previously would not have wished to work
with police. „A considerable amount of effort has gone into reaching out to
minority groups and communities who may not have reported crime to police
in the past. It could be that some part of the increase in the number of
incidents reported is at least a reflection of the growing confidence those
communities have in reporting such incidents to police.‟ Analysis of crime
reports/incidents within Armagh District would tend to support the hypothesis
that the increase in recorded crime is partially due to an increase in reporting
from the Nationalist community.
DOMESTIC BURGLARY (Final Figure):
Up 13.7% (+35 crimes)
Whilst PSNI overall enjoyed a 4.1% reduction attributable to a significant
reduction in Urban Region, Rural Region as a whole experienced a 6.6%
increase. This District like some of the neighbouring DCUs suffered at the
hands of a number of organized „professional‟ burglary teams and prolific
A reduction in the incidence of burglary was experienced following the
introduction of Op Bullent and the District will redouble its efforts to counter
this threat by exploiting good practice and opportunities available to it such as:
Using analysis to help prioritise resources and focus them were offences were
likely to occur
Persistent Offenders Unit to be launched in May – Working with CSIs to
develop forensics in relation to this area to generate more and better evidence
to secure convictions and take persistent offenders out of the system
Effective crime preventions campaigns
Promoting neighbourhood watch schemes
Targeting prolific offenders
VEHICLE CRIMES (Final figure)
Theft from vehicles up 42% (+21 crimes)
Theft of/or unauthorised taking of motor vehicles up 16.5% (+13 crimes)
Vehicle tampering/interference up 22.7% (+5 crimes)
This was where the public at large could do much to reduce the likelihood of
becoming a victim through sensible, non expensive crime prevention methods
Not leaving the keys in the ignition (particularly in garage forecourts or at
Not leaving keys visible or readily available within the home
Securing or immobilising the vehicle preferably with a Crook lock
Not leaving articles such as cameras, mobile phones, briefcases, handbags and
other valuables on display
Throughout the year the District reminded people to protect their property by
parking in safe places and by protecting their homes and keys by locking
doors and windows.
The DCU would continue to give this class of crime priority through
improved use of CCTV, secured by design initiatives and use of Press and
VIOLENT CRIME (Final figure)
Up 2.2% (+16 crimes)
The published DPP report (figures extracted on 27 03 06) indicated a 3.2%
reduction (-23 crimes) in this category. Regrettably the finally validated end
of year figures released on 9 May 2006, reflected a 2.2% rise (+16 crimes) in
violent crime. This was spread across all three sub-categories:
Offences Against The Person up 0.9% (+6 crimes)
Sexual Offences up 17.1% (+6 crimes)
Robbery up 20% (+4 crimes)
The increase experienced by the District was less than that recorded by PSNI
up 5.8% and Rural Region up 4.2%.
A notable factor within this category was the rise in reported incidents and
offences recorded for Domestic Violence – up 36.5% (+129 incidents) and
21.7% (+36 crimes) respectively.
This increase in reporting of domestic violence may be attributable to:
Recent police campaigns had encouraged victims to report this crime to the
police. Many of these were first time reports.
While no incidence of domestic violence was good, if it was happening it is
much better for police to know, therefore if the increase was a sign of
increased reporting and increased confidence in police, then that was positive.
It was unlikely to be an indication of a sudden increase in domestic violence.
On a positive note it was pleasing to note that the District recorded the highest
clearance rate (92.1%) in PSNI for domestic violence offences.
CRIMINAL DAMAGE (Local Policing Plan Target) (Final figure)
Up 10.7% (+61 crimes)
The 10.2% rise recorded by the District was identical to that recorded by PSNI
as a whole, but less than the 11.5% increase experienced across Rural Region.
Encouragingly the clearance rate for this category of offence also rose from
21.2% to 25% (up 3.8% or 37 crimes). This compares favourably with the
clearance figures for PSNI and Rural Region 15.2% and 18.5% respectively.
Criminal Damage represents approximately 21.5% of all recorded crime in the
District. It was one of the most difficult areas for police to achieve results. It
must be done in partnership with other agencies and the community.
Anti Social Behaviour was often a pre-curser to Criminal Damage and was an
issue for society as a whole. It placed a growing demand on police time. This
District was pioneering new approaches to dealing with both Criminal
Damage and Anti Social Behaviour such as:
Neighbourhood Watch Schemes, which encourage recording and timely
Midnight Football in Tandragee – 5 week course which is very effective at
combating anti social behaviour but communities must help.
The number of reported incidents had increased in relation to the number
of racist and homophobic crimes. Could this be seen as positive, if more
people are willing to report these crimes?
Inspector Fulton stated he believed this could be seen as positive and there
were other examples of Foreign Nationals‟ confidence in local policing
increasing. It was also fair to say that PSNI as a Service were probably getting
better at recognizing and recording such crimes also.
Sexual Offences: are people now more willing to report this crime? How
many of these incidents are as a result of domestic violence cases?
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that there had been an increase in reports
of Sexual Offences. This however was mainly due to victims now reporting
„historic‟ incidents rather than an actual increase in sexual crimes. The reason
wasn‟t clear but was believed to be because victims were now more aware of
the process and more willing to come forward.
In addition, the time limit for lodging a Criminal Injury Claim had been
abolished and some victims were now coming forward for that reason.
None of the reported incidents were domestic.
Do these offences happen in a particular area of specific racial group?
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that there is no evidence of these offences
occurring in a specific area or racial group.
Can you give us a breakdown of offences against the state?
Detective Inspector Cartmill stated that Offences against the state were
offences in which there ws no Injured Party as such. „Regina‟ therefore
became the Injured Party. Offences against the State was a huge category with
numerous sub categories and as such, it would be impossible to give a
breakdown of all offences committed in Armagh DCU at short notice.
However, the following is a breakdown of the main offences within the last
Assault on Police - 21
Bomb Hoax - 22 (includes hoax devices and hoax calls)
Explosives devices - 1
Breach of non molestation order - 54
Intimidation of witnesses - 11
Withholding information - 1
Wasting Police Time - 1
Possession of an Offensive weapon - 37
Harassment - 70
Disorderly Behaviour, Obstruction and Resisting arrest were crimes against
the state, however, these were not categorized as crimes under Crime
Recording rules, there was therefore no easy way of retrieving these statistics.
What is the uptake in crime text to date?
Inspector Fulton stated that 315 invitations had been distributed to Tandragee,
Derryhale, Richhill and Loughgilly areas. To date (9 May 2006) only 20
replies had been received, which was disappointing. A lot of time and energy
had been put into face-to-face meetings with the residents within the areas,
together with information contained in packs delivered to the Scheme areas.
How often, and in what areas, have the new bicycle patrols been
deployed? Have you any idea of the impact they have made?
Inspector Fulton stated that currently there were 2 bicycles in Armagh DCU
with a total of 5 Officers equipped to use them.
They had been deployed on 4 occasions within the Armagh City area in places
ranging from the Lonsdale Road and Mall area and out through the
Portadown, Newry and Hamiltonsbawn Road areas, including all estates off
Once correct cycle carriage racks were received it was intended to conduct
patrols in Richhill, Markethill, Tandragee etc.
Whenever the bicycles had been used their presence had generated a great deal
of interest. By virtue of the Officers‟ attire and that of their cycles, they were
a highly visible police patrol, which was always well received by the public.
4.0 QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND DPP
Questions from Members of the Public
4.1 Question Reference 05/2006/001
As the annual Parades' season is almost upon us can you confirm, from
last year's figures:
How many Parades there were in the Armagh DCU area?
There were 210 parades in the Armagh DCU last year.
How many Police Officers were required to attend each event?
Superintendent Moore advised that the number of Police Officers attending
each event would vary according to the nature and size of the event. Police
numbers at each parade would range from 2 Officers at small Church Parades
to 32 Officers at major Band Parades. Traffic Wardens were also used on
traffic points at parades to reduce Police Officer resourcing at such events.
If these Police Officers were unavailable to attend 'normal' call-outs, did the
crime figures for unrelated crimes rise during this period?
Response Policing Officers were seldom used in the policing of parades and
when used were only employed in connection with very minor parades of
short duration ie 10 to 15 minutes, eg Church Parades. There was always an
availability to attend „normal call-outs‟ when parades were ongoing.
There was no evidence at all to suggest that crime rises whilst Police were
engaged on parade duties. Response policing is generally unaffected by
parades and normal policing activity continues during ongoing parades.
Are TSGs still routinely used at parades and is their use considered
provocative by the public?
Superintendent Moore stated that TSGs were not routinely used at parades.
Each notification of a parade is assessed on its own merits and a decision was
made to bid for TSG Units if the potential situation warrants such a bid, eg
potential for serious public disorder, counter protest to parade.
If TSGs were provided for duty at any parade in Armagh DCU such units were
detailed with tact and consideration for the sensitivities of the community.
They were often held in reserve at Gough Barracks and only deployed if the
situation warranted such action. These steps/considerations were taken to
reduce/eliminate any provocation felt by any section of the community and to
reduce the impact of such policing activity in the community.
4.2 Question Reference 05/2006/02
Can you please address the issue of children being approached by
strangers in cars outside/around Tandragee Primary School. At the end
of November two young girls were approached on their way home from
Inspector McFarland advised that this was an issue which occurred at various
times throughout the District. It was not a common event. The issue in
Tandragee was reported to and investigated by Police. Immediately after the
event Police also liaised with Staff from the School, in an attempt to ensure
that information was shared.
A press appeal was made in respect of this incident. Police interviewed three
suspects as a result, but no evidence was secured. Uniform Police carried out
patrols in the area of the Primary School and Tandragee Junior High School
for two weeks following this incident. No suspects were identified.
4.3 Question Reference 05/2006/003
As a resident of the Loughgall area I am concerned at the increase in
domestic burglary and subsequent fear of crime. I would like to ask the
District Commander what he is doing to protect the area in addition to
Inspector Fulton advised that following a number of aggravated burglaries of
older persons in the District the PSNI (Community Safety Unit) and the
Community Safety Partnership sought to address these concerns in a number
Firstly, we wished to dispel the myth that older people are most likely to be
the victims of assaults and then to offer some practical support advice and
reassurance. We held a joint meeting with the Community Safety Partnership
Chairman and the DPP Manager in order to address the concerns in the local
community. This resulted in formulating a media strategy, offering practical
reassurance in the form of personal attack alarms (245) across the District as
well as high profile targeted patrolling in the areas affected. We also provided
information in the local press to raise awareness about domestic burglary, but
at the same time endeavoring to avoid adding to the fear of such crime.
I consider there to be a lack of communication and guidance from the
local PSNI to the community in the area, advising local residents what
they can do to protect themselves. I understand that resources may be
limited and funding not available but I would ask if the District
Commander has considered any of the following low cost best practice
examples used in other District Command Units? Leaflet drops to
residents in the vicinity of hot spot areas with top ten tips to protect
property, posters on local lamp posts, door to door calls by community
beat officers, the offer of crime prevention advice to residents or high
visibility patrolling in the area.
Inspector Fulton advised that many of the issues raised in this question have
also been raised at the last Loughgall CPLC Meeting. It is acknowledged that
there has been an increase in crime levels in the Loughgall area. In an attempt
to address the concerns raised at this meeting, the Community Policing
Sergeant in conjunction with the local Uniform Sergeant have agreed on a
number of the proposed solutions outlined in the question. For example, a
planned leaflet drop was scheduled for the village and surrounding areas. In
addition, it was planned to arrange a meeting in the area, which would be
addressed by the Crime Prevention Officer. The focus of this meeting would
be to educate members of the public on simple steps that can be taken to
minimise the risk of becoming victims of crime
Has any consideration been given to editorials or press releases being
placed in the local press or information specific to Loughgall posted to all
residents in the Loughgall and surrounding rural areas or information
being placed on the DPP website with crime prevention information.
Unfortunately I have not seen any of the above within the Loughgall area.
Inspector Fulton stated that in relation to editorial and press releases PSNI did
continually address community concerns and highlight current crime trends in
the press. The made full use of the press and in recent times had covered
subjects of Bogus Callers, Thefts of trailers, home heating oil, vehicles and
property in vehicles, seasonal trends such as theft of caravans, boats, garden
furniture and lawnmowers to name but a few.
The launch of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and the introduction of the
information packs which included information on home security and domestic
burglary also received comprehensive media cover and highlighted the scheme
in a Richhill Neighbourhood Watch area in the Loughgall police area of the
All domestic burglaries where the victim is 65 years or over will, in addition
to a visit from our own Crime Prevention Officer, be referred to the
Community Crime Alert project for a further home visit and the offer of home
security measures and advice.
Domestic burglary remained a very important issue for police and was
included in the PSNI current Local Policing Plan. PSNI would continue to
address this issue in terms of proactive intelligence led policing within the
District and across the rural region in conjunction with the PSNI Crime
I would also like to know are there other successful police initiatives that
can be put into hotspots areas to tackle areas where crime appears to be
on the increase? I would have thought that if burglaries were on the
increase in an area that a high profile presence would deter burglars if
they thought that the police could catch them in the act! Or at least the
fear of being caught would be a deterrent. I would also like to know what
criterion is used to allocate budgets and resources to an area?
Inspector Fulton replied that in terms of new initiatives, local police were
endeavoring to deploy Automatic Number Plate Reading equipment (ANPR)
into the Loughgall Area. This was a computerised, mobile Number Plate
reading system. In its current state, it was mounted in a suitably adopted
vehicle. It could be used either as a pro-active tool, or an investigative tool. In
addition, District police had submitted a proposal paper to HQ, suggesting that
the current ANPR system was extended to include a number of strategically
placed static sites. As of this date, there had been no response from
Headquarters, although the organisation was investigating the feasibility of a
Service wide scheme.
I wish also to be advised on how much of the budget is spent in the
Loughgall area compared to other Armagh District villages / rural areas/
towns? And what proportion is spent specifically on community policing
in the Loughgall area compared to other areas?
Inspector Fulton advised that the business plan for the District did not
facilitate analysis on a Station or Sector basis. Consequently, the information
was not readily available. This issue of budgets and their specific allocation to
areas or categories was not catered for in the District Plan. The acquisition of
this specific information would take considerable time to collate, assemble and
In conclusion I would draw the District Commander to the DPP survey
that was carried out in 2003 and the focus group survey 2003. It is quite
clear that domestic burglary was rated as the highest concern for
residents in the Armagh area and I would urge the District Commander
to consider his action plan and ask him what action he is prepared to take
to address this valid public concern in the Loughgall area.
Inspector Fulton stated that it was accepted that there had been a spate of
crimes in the Loughgall area, especially in terms of the theft of farm
machinery. The District Plan to deal with this revolved around issues
previously raised in earlier answers. In addition, it was planned that the
District Operational Policing Team were deployed on a regular basis. Liaison
with PSNI/Garda had resulted in the arrest and charging of several prolific
criminals who had been active in the Loughgall area. Some farm equipment
had also been recovered.
Questions from DPP Members
Cathy Donnelly enquired if consideration had been given to employing more
civilian staff in police stations.
Superintendent Moore stated that he had previously submitted a bid to
increase the number of civilian staff in out stations such as Tandragee. In
order to progress this, funding would have to be available and the appropriate
security environment in place. Other issues to be considered were gaining
access, health and safety, risk assessments, etc, but these matters were being
In relation to the issue of drugs, Councillor Irwin congratulated the District
Commander and his team . He said it was good to see information coming
through from the public in this regard.
In relation to the Armagh Crime Text Messaging Service, Diane Hynds said
she thought this was an excellent service. She referred to an incident where a
call in relation to someone driving erratically had been made to Tandragee
Station, yet the call had not been picked up. She asked if such messages could
not be conveyed through the Text Messaging Service.
Inspector Fulton stated that registered users would receive text messages of
incidents in the Armagh area and they could respond via a dedicated telephone
number. There was no facility for individuals to leave texts on the system.
In terms of availability of officers, Cathy Magee asked how many cars were
available at night. Were officers in these cars additional to the 1 sergeant and
7 constables available for response policing. If they are dispatched from the
station, did it mean that designated route has to be adhered to by the car? Does
the station have a record of where any particular car is at any time?
Inspector McFarland stated that there were 2 shifts covering day and night
consisting of one sergeant and 7 constables for the Armagh City sector. How
they were tasked was dictated by a daily task sheet.
Superintendent Moore stated that he understood that consideration was being
given within the Policing Service of installing a tracker device on police
vehicles which would enable control centres to know where any car was. It
would record travel data such as speed and record the hours the car was out.
In response to an enquiry from Councillor Mallon regarding the crime text that
had been piloted in Tandragee, Inspector Fulton stated that it had been piloted
as a neighbourhood watch scheme and it was hoped that traders would become
involved. The DPP Manager pointed out that she was contacting each of the
Neighbourhood Watch Groups to see if they were interested in becoming
involved in this initiative.
Diane Hynds referred to the post of Community Crime Alert Co-Ordinator
held by Stephanie Rock and made a request to the Council to have this post
The Head of Policy and Democratic Services advised that this year £7000 had
been allocated towards the post as funding would be finishing.
The DPP Manager then advised members of a initiative “Taking Cash out of
Crime” to be held in the Navan Centre on 16th May, 2006.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Chairman thanked the representatives
from the PSNI, the members and officers for their attendance.
The business having been completed, the meeting concluded at 9.40p.m.