Belfast Telegraph

Paramilitary-style assaults double in Ards and North Down over past year

One of three paramilitarism deaths also took place in the area

Paramilitary-style assaults in the Ards and North Down area have more than doubled in the past year.

PSNI figures show there were 18 paramilitary style assaults between March 2017 and the end of February this year. The previous 12 months saw eight paramilitary style assaults.

One of three criminal paramilitarism deaths in Northern Ireland in the past 12 months also took place in Ards and North Down.

Green Party councillor Rachel Woods said greater investigation into the issue was needed.

“There are figures that should be deeply worrying to anyone living in Ards and North Down and it begs the question of what is happening in our towns and villages and who is in control,” Councillor Woods said," she said.

“It is now 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement, yet our streets and estates are still being held to ransom by self-appointed thugs."

“We need to take a long hard look at what factors are fostering this paramilitarism at a time of supposed peace. We need to put much more work into investigating how we can stem the flow of new recruits into paramilitary organisations and supporting and actively engaging with all involved in community development and neighbourhood renewal."

She said other criminal activities could be confused for paramilitary crime.

“We also need to be careful about talking about paramilitarism, as it is clear that some of this activity is simply straightforward criminality taking place under the flag of paramilitarism," Cllr Woods said.

“I will be talking to the PSNI/community leaders to find out why this activity still has such a grip on our communities and what we can do about it.

“If anyone has information on this kind of activity, I would urge them to contact the PSNI or pass it on via the completely anonymous Crimestoppers number at 0800 555 111.”

 

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