Belfast Telegraph

Bombing incidents double in a year

There have been almost 100 bombing incidents in Northern Ireland in the past year.

PSNI officers and bomb disposal experts dealt with 99 alerts involving a viable device in 2010/11, a number of which exploded. The total is nearly double the 50 incidents the year before.

The number of people arrested over terrorist offences increased to 188 from 169 the year before. Forty people were subsequently charged, compared to 36 the year before.

There were 72 shooting incidents, down seven on 2009/10. And incidents of paramilitary-style attacks are also down - 33 people were shot in such attacks, with 50 assaulted. The figures for the year before were 46 and 81 respectively.

The crime figures released by the PSNI do not cover the recent murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh in April.

In the 12-month period analysed, there was one security-related death - the loyalist shooting of Bobby Moffett on Belfast's Shankill Road last summer. There were two security-related deaths the year before.

Despite the upsurge in bombing incidents, overall crime rates appear to be down. There were 105,040 crimes recorded by the PSNI in 2010/11 compared with 109,139 in 2009/10, a decrease of 4,099 (down 3.8%).

Police said this is the lowest crime total recorded for 13 years. There were increases in sexual assaults and robberies - up by 176 (9.1%) and 30 (2.4%) respectively. And while sectarian crime is down, homophobic crime is up by 20%.

The overall detection rate (clearances) is up 1.5% to 27.3%. There were 43 fewer deaths on the roads (down 42.6%) with 58 losing their lives and a 104 fewer victims seriously injured (down 10.5%) during 2010/11.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: "Despite the challenges we face, policing is working. But we are not complacent and while the increased threat does impact upon the style and delivery of our service in some areas, we are determined that it will not prevent us working with people to tackle crime and deal with the issues that they want us to deal with."

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From Belfast Telegraph