Strabane District Policing Partnership (DPP) held its last ever public meeting on Thursday.
From 1st April, the functions and responsibilities currently undertaken by DPPs and CSPs will be carried out by the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships, which are new statutory bodies established under the Justice Act 2011.
Speaking at the end of the public meeting, Councillor Thomas Kerrigan, DPP chair said: “I would like to thank members for their commitment and for the valuable contribution they have made to ensure the success of Strabane DPP.”
He added: “When the DPP was first established in 2003, members faced many difficulties including protests at meetings and attacks on them and their homes. Thankfully times have changed and members now face little or no opposition to them working with police and carrying out their monitoring role.”
During the meeting Chief Inspector Andy Lemon (Area Commander) reported on progress made towards targets from the 2011/2012 Local Policing Plan and gave an update on crime levels up to February 2, 2012.
He answered questions from Strabane DPP in relation to crime prevention surgeries, Strabane Radiolink Scheme, the amount of time spent by police officers outside police stations, ANPR operations, Discretionary Disposals and Fixed Penalty Notices in relation to road safety operations.
Councillor Thomas Kerrigan, DPP Chair said: “We are pleased to hear that overall crime has decreased by almost 5% (67 crimes) compared to the same period last year. Notable decreases have been recorded in burglary (down 33%), criminal damage (down 30%), anti-Social Behaviour (down 300 incidents) and the detection rate for burglary has increased by 22%.”
He added: “We are concerned about the increase in violence against the person, theft and fraud however we have been given assurances that police have plans in place to continue to address these issues.”
Chief Inspector Lemon stated: “On behalf of Strabane PSNI, I would like to pay tribute to all members of Strabane DPP. The first public meeting was held in September 2003 and there was a protest outside the building. Members have endured personal attacks, attacks in the press and attacks on their property, yet they stood firm and resolute. You cannot underestimate the risks that some of these members have taken, both in their personal and public lives.”
He added: “Members of the public don’t see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes between PSNI, DPP members and staff. I get challenged by DPP members on your behalf on a weekly basis; we have had some very serious conversations, yet I know they’re for the benefit of us all. I thank every DPP member for the work they have done and wish you all well for the future.”
The 37th and final meeting in public of Strabane DPP was held in the Newtownstewart 2000 Centre, with nine members of the public in attendance.