Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Car-crime police team retained

The Auto-Crime Team in west Belfast is to be retained, police have said

The auto-crime team in west Belfast is to be retained, police have said.

Vehicle-related crime has reduced by more than 75% since the team was established eight years ago.

Recent plans to disband the unit had caused concern in the community.

Those proposals have been abandoned but the team will move to a different police station and will also take on drugs, burglaries and anti-social roles.

Chief Inspector Emma Mooney said: "The excellent skills and local knowledge of the ACT have earned them much respect among local people and resulted in an impressive reduction in vehicle-related crime in the area since their introduction eight years ago.

"It is good news for everybody that we cannot only retain those skills and knowledge but employ them in an even more targeted fashion in the future."

The PSNI originally said disbanding the team would allow the force to put more officers on the beat. However it faced protests led by political representatives and local clergy who feared lives could be lost if car crime returned to previous levels.

Ms Mooney added: "We have received tremendous feedback and I am pleased to announce that the ACT will be retained to serve the people of west Belfast and beyond.

"There will be some minor operational changes such as the fact that they will now be based at Woodbourne station rather than Dunmurry and that their duties will include tackling other key district priorities such as drugs, burglaries and anti-social behaviour - all of which are strongly linked to vehicle crime, which will remain their main priority."

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