North Area police commander reflects on 2023 and wishes local resident a safe and peaceful Christmas
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He said: “2023 has been a busy year full of challenges and competing demands across the North Area region, which has required great levels of resilience from officers, staff, our partners, and local communities.
"Now, with Christmas nearly upon us, it is an opportunity for many to enjoy quality time, relaxing with family and friends. However, it is also a time for us as a police service to reflect on the year that is soon coming to an end.
“We all understand that we must focus on the crimes that put people at most risk, such as violence against women and girls, child sexual exploitation, paramilitarism, dangerous driving, hate crime, and the constant threat to both officers and staff, when they are just doing their job, but we must also focus on the positive outcomes that have been achieved this year, through the hard work implemented.
“Some examples of this include the collaborative programme between Evolution Boxing in Carrick and the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT).
"This was a year-long investment within Mid & East Antrim communities, providing young people with an opportunity to find a positive interest, away from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.
"The Motorcycle Awareness Project (MAP) youth education programme in Antrim and Newtownabbey, which was a six-week initiative developed to help reduce the anti-social behaviour associated with bikes.
"We also have had the successful ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme ongoing across our districts, a safe word girls and women can use when they don’t feel safe, relating to our ongoing efforts to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG).
“In addition to this, our teams have policed many large scale events, including The Balmoral Show in Lisburn, The North West 200 in Causeway Coast and Glens, Present Biden’s historic visit to Northern Ireland, and the hugely successful events across each district for the Coronation of the King. All of which, included a significant police deployment.
“While there is still a great deal to do amid the ongoing financial pressures, I am proud that objectives within local district policing plans are being delivered, reassuring local people that when they raise concerns, they are being dealt with in the most efficient manner.
"I also have no doubt that our relationships with our partners will continue to strengthen even more next year, and as this year has presented, partnership working is fundamental in keeping our districts safe.
"Thank you to all of those who work across our districts and who help keep local communities safe, recognising all policing and emergency service staff who will be sacrificing time with their loved ones over the festive period, to continue to keep us all safe - your hard work is greatly appreciated!.
"2024 will undoubtedly continue to present challenges, but I remain committed to working with my colleagues, partners and the public across North Area, to keep our districts among the safest places in the country to live, work and visit.
"Sending best wishes to you and your families over Christmas and the New Year.”