Belfast Telegraph

Police detection rates below target

Detection rates for sectarianism in Northern Ireland are falling below target with hundreds of crimes being committed, police have said.

Attacks on GAA premises, Orange halls and churches have been recorded.

Deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie said there were 657 sectarian crimes this financial year.

She said: "Many of them are opportunistic, committed in the middle of the night in the dark by people who have nothing to contribute to this society."

She said the under-reporting of crimes such as attacks on grave headstones was a real concern.

"They create more destruction, more hurt and more mistrust," she added.

According to the police's latest figures, they are failing to meet a target to increase the detection rate for sectarian crime by 2%, with it running at 17.2% this financial year to date.

Crime levels in Northern Ireland fell during the last three months of last year. There were 2,153 less crimes than the same period the previous year, with reductions in burglary, non-domestic violence causing injury and the number of armed robberies on business premises.

Targets were not met for detections for violence causing injury, domestic violence causing injury, homophobic or sectarian crimes.

Measures of confidence in the PSNI have risen significantly. The proportion of people who believe the police provide an ordinary day-to-day service for all in Northern Ireland has increased to 84%. The proportion who believe police do a very or fairly good job has increased to 71.3%. Overall confidence in the force has increased to 63.9%.

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