Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Seized cash funds cage soccer in anti-social hotspots

The proceeds of crime in Londonderry are now being used for good to fund three community projects after the city council secured £56,000 of cash seized by police.

The money has been allocated to the Community Safety Partnership and will be used to purchase two vans costing a total of £23,500 for the city‘s community safety wardens, equipment costing £15,100 to be used for cage soccer in anti-social hotspots, and £17,702 will go towards a three-month anti-drug campaign. The funding comes from confiscation receipts after an application was made to the Department of Justice.

Almost £18,000 will go towards a campaign encouraging the public to pass information to the PSNI.

It is part of a major crackdown on drugs by the PSNI and Derry District Policing Partnership which was promised after latest figures showed a drop of over 50% in the number of drug seizures.

Leading the campaign, Inspector Jon Burrows said: “We are consistently being told by the public that drugs is a priority for the public, so it is a priority for us.

“We need information on the dealers and we need information on drugs so we can get them off the streets.

“Police are being told the dogs in the streets know who the dealers are so we are asking the community directly for assistance.”

Part of the money went towards purchasing 10,000 information leaflets which will be delivered to every household in the Cityside giving details about how the public can pass on information in confidence using Crimestoppers. It will be used in conjunction with posters and visits to local schools and public meetings to be held across the city.

Factfile

The cage soccer apparatus is a portable 7.5m circular cage which can be quickly assembled at peak times for use in areas suffering a high level of anti-social behaviour.

Cage football sees two teams of two battle it out in action packed games lasting 2 minutes. Up to 96 players can be accommodated per hour.

But Derry councillor Lynn Fleming has questioned if the name is politically correct and has called for a bit more sensitivity, while councillor John Boyle suggested rebranding the scheme.

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