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DPP doubts as officials outnumber the public at meetings

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Questions have been raised over the effectiveness of District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) after it emerged that officials outnumbered the public at half of the meetings last year.

At 13 of the 26 DPPs, public turnout was drastically low when compared to the number of panel members at each of the six annual public meetings held during 2007/08. In some of the worst cases only a handful of people attended the meetings.

The statistics, released by the Policing Board, have raised questions over the future of DPPs.

Jimmy Spratt, former Police Federation Chairman and current Policing Board member said the forums had very limited benefits.

“I had been a member of a DPP before I took up my position on the board. My whole time on the DPP was one of total frustration because what we were met with was a very steady diet of statistics. Whenever we raised issues of crime hotspots and anti social behaviour we were met with a fire service response that seems to be the same across the board.

“I am not surprised that the numbers are low and that the public are disinterested. DPP’s are not seen as being particularly useful.

“It frustrates me no end, that there are very few visible police on the ground yet when you go to a DPP meeting there are maybe nine or 10 police officers in attendance. I don’t think DPPs are effective. From my own point of view I find that it is better dealing with issues at Policing Board level.”

It frustrates me, that there are very few visible police|on the ground

DPPs were set up in 2003 to allow the public to monitor the effectiveness of policing in their local area. Made up of elected and non-elected members they also act as a forum for discussion.

In Armagh an average of just five members of the public turned up for each of the six meetings during the past year.

Meetings in Carrickfergus, Fermanagh and Moyle also had an average of only six people at each.

The Policing Board said publicity was a matter for individual partnerships.

Belfast Telegraph


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