Inner city south Belfast was the setting last week for a debate on modern policing.
A significant Let's Talk-style debate took place in Richview Regeneration Centre in the Village, with a panel consisting of policing board members Jimmy Spratt (DUP) and Alex Maskey (SF), journalist and writer Malachi O'Doherty, former UVF prisoner Martin Snodden and South Belfast UPRG chairperson Colin Halliday.
The independent chairman for the debate was east Belfast community worker Sammy Douglas; his role was crucially important with the audience and panel debating the hot topic of ‘normalised policing and moving on from the Troubles’.
An audience of more than 50 people turned up to this lunchtime event. Among the topics discussed were stop-and-search, the Historical Enquiries Team, recent pipe bomb discoveries and the need for better community engagement with the new policing structures.
The event was organised by the Greater Village Regeneration Trust as part of its ongoing Community Relations Strategy.
Paula Bradshaw director of the Trust said: “Many of the key stakeholders in this area signed up to our Community Relations Strategy 12 months ago, and as part of the ongoing work of that strategy it is important for us to facilitate opportunities for engagement and debate involving young people, former paramilitaries and politicians.”
The event was backed by Belfast City Council and Neighbourhood Renewal Funding.