The PSNI have announced they are to review all investigative leads into paramilitary style attacks in the city.
The North West has witnessed a total of 45 so called ‘paramilitary style punishment attacks’ in the last five years.
The police “initiative” will see “a co-ordinated approach with Crime Operations and District Policing,” they say, “to disrupt the activities of those believed to be involved in this criminality and a renewed appeal for public assistance through social media platform, Facebook.”
Currently the PSNI have a clearance rate of less than 5% for this type of crime.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said; “Of course we are frustrated with the clearance rate but in some instances victims of these type of crimes refuse to make statements or assist police. Without the evidence, the victim and witness information, success in detection is limited. But I and my colleagues are determined to use all the policing tools at our disposal to disrupt not only the crime but the criminality.
“We will use a serious and organised crime policing approach to make a difference.
“I am asking others today to get involved with us, to stand up and help those who need assistance and to ensure these attacks and those who carry them out are firmly rejected.
“This Facebook page will ask people for their assistance and will appeal in particular to young people.”
While welcoming the move as a “positive step” SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said cautiously: “It is a positive step but a very small one in the right direction. Police have a responsibility as do all the judicial system to victims and society to ensure that those who carry out these attacks are held accountable.
“While the full details have yet to emerge I do wonder how the Facebook page will work in terms of confidentiality.”