Belfast Telegraph

PSNI hits back at criticism over rampaging hole in the wall gangs

Officers posting on the PSNI Craigavon Facebook page...

No, I haven't become an eccentric collector of ATM photos! These are some of the spots we gave attention to over night across ABC.

Reading comments on this issue is disheartening, with a worrying number of people happy to abdicate all civic responsibility and leave us solely responsible for everything that goes on.

That's not how real life works.

For one, we don't have crystal balls. Two, since the early days of "wanted" posters, policing has been about working together.

Google will show you how many ATMs we have. Last night, as always, was busy. You've seen a couple of the stories already, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Missing people, domestics, drink drivers, mental health, fights, prisoners in hospital, RTCs, suspicious activity round houses... the list goes on. We got to only some of our ATMs, and that's the point- we can't be everywhere at once. I could sit for hours at an ATM but no sooner am I round the corner than a team of crooks arrive. The idea that we can watch them 24/7 is pure fiction and if no one hears or sees a digger rumbling down the road and phones us, we're reliant on the good fortune of being in just one of HUNDREDS of places at the right time!

This is a wider issue, one we ALL have a part to play in. Aside from the ATM industry having a technical solution to consider, there's basic measures too.

  • Digger owners, consider immobilisers! We know of a failed theft in our patch due to one!
  • Is your digger secured in a locked compound or somewhere that is at least not immediately accessible to the road?
  • EVERYONE - if you see activity overnight in or around building sites, report it immediately!
  • Rural ATM owners. Do you get much if any overnight custom? Have you considered movement sensored CCTV that alerts you?
  • If you know work is beginning in a rural spot close to an ATM, LET US KNOW! It will inform our overnight patrolling.

Working together, just one result against these criminals will make a difference.

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