The role of police within the community in Northern Ireland has been praised in a new report — just days after dozens of officers were injured in riots in north Belfast.
Back in 2009 Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) published a report which highlighted areas in which the PSNI could improve its delivery of policing within the community.
In a follow-up report released on Tuesday, the Police Service is praised by the CJINI for the improvements made over the past three years.
The report comes after Sunday’s riots in north Belfast during which 47 police officers were injured.
The head of CJINI praised the work undertaken by the PSNI to improve its community presence.
“I welcome the improved levels of accessibility and officer visibility that members of the community are now experiencing,” said Brendan McGuigan, acting chief inspector of CJINI.
“Inspectors found substantial progress in terms of the resources allocated to support and sustain neighbourhood policing and the development of a revised Policing with the Community strategy.”
Mr McGuigan said 700 police officers are currently involved in undertaking neighbourhood policing duties across the province.
“This increased focus on neighbourhood policing is positive, and inspectors would wish to see this investment protected so that neighbourhood policing is adequately supported in the future.”
“This will become particularly important when pressure to sustain officer numbers in other police areas occur,” he said.
Mr McGuigan said progress on the development and implementation of a revised community policing strategy was positive.
“To maintain these improvements, the PSNI will have to imaginatively use the resources and personnel it has available to ensure Policing with the Community remains at the core of service delivery in the future,” he added.