Rebecca petticrew and lesley houston
The recently formed North Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) held a public meeting in Bangor on Monday, October 29.
The meeting offered an opportunity for the public to learn more about initiatives being undertaken by the police, how issues of crime and community safety are being addressed and to question Chief Inspector Michael McDonald, Area Police Commander, on issues of crime and policing in North Down.
After the meeting, Chief Inspector McDonald presented his six month performance report which covered April to September 2012.
Chairman of the PCSP branch Alderman Alan Graham described the report as "comprehensive", saying: "Crime was down and the targets were achieved in most areas - the only exception was antisocial behaviour. Burglary is down big time and some of the other crimes are holding their own, they not going up, they're going down slightly. All in all it was a good report."
Mr Graham said he was pleased with the number of people who attended the meeting. explaining: "Policing and safety is really what the group is about.With sensible cooperation and an understanding of one another's problems, the community can be made safer."
The new PCSPs replace the District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) and come under the remit of the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Policing Board.
Under the new format, the functions of the DPPs and CSPs have been merged with a new one being established within each of Northern Ireland's 26 council areas.
Across Northern Ireland, the 26 bodies will involve a total of 237 independent members, who are joining a membership of local elected representatives, publicly-appointed members as well as representatives from organisations with a role in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour.
Councillor Trevor Cummings, who represents the newly reconstituted Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) for Ards Borough Council, said the new body will address issues of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Commenting on the role of the partnerships, which were established under the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 to help make communities safer, Mr Cummings said: "I look forward to leading the Partnership and delivering services and projects which will make a real difference to policing and community safety issues which local people are experiencing on the ground.
"Our overall purpose is to help to make communities safer, to ensure that the voices of local people are heard and, crucially, to empower communities themselves to develop solutions which will tackle crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. It is vital that we all recognise the important role we collectively play in confronting the challenges associated with community safety and address them both positively and constructively."
The new group was established in April and includes councillors, publicly-appointed members and representatives from organisations with a role in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour.