Belfast Telegraph

Domestic violence calls expected to surge in NI on Christmas Day

PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay says there will be a significant presence to deal with the traditional increase in family disputes on December 25.

Police Federation chairman Mark Lindsay (PFNI/PA)
Police Federation chairman Mark Lindsay (PFNI/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

Police are braced for an upsurge in domestic violence this Christmas Day in Northern Ireland.

The festive season traditionally marks an increase in the number of family disputes.

A significant PSNI presence will be on call on December 25.

Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) chairman Mark Lindsay said: “On Christmas Day there are probably fewer police officers on, there are less people about, and we do step that down purely for financial reasons but there are instances of crime, there are instances of domestic violence that need to be dealt with so our officers have to be on duty to deal with that.

“That invariably means time away from their own families, postponement of Christmas dinner, postponement maybe of opening presents.

“That very much goes with the job, that is what we have to do on Christmas Day.”

You are always trying to deal with the human beings behind this Mark Lindsay

In 2017, the PSNI’s domestic violence Christmas campaign led to the highest level of recorded incidents since 2004.

Mr Lindsay added: “Around Christmastime there has always been increased instance of domestic violence, a lot of families put together in very tight environments and sometimes tempers and emotions spill over and we do get some quite serious instances of domestic violence so police have to be aware to deal with that.

“You are always trying to deal with the human beings behind this.

“If there are children involved it is their Christmas as well, if there has been something serious we need to make sure people are safe.”

He said a lot of police work naturally tied into social care.

“We need those organisations to be adequately resourced and available as well so it means police officers, for instance, are not dealing solely with those matters and having to put resources in that really should fall into the other departments,” he said.

“Sometimes that takes valued police resources off the streets, off investigating crime, because they are simply looking after some of these vulnerable people and we would never see anybody caught in that respect.

“We will always be looking after the vulnerable but it is about trying to speed up the process that will allow us to go and do that much more smoothly.”

PA

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