58 arrests as Derry cops go ‘Relentless’

Inspector John Burrows. (0904PG01)
Inspector John Burrows. (0904PG01)

Police in Derry made 58 arrests in two weeks as part of a new drive to snare criminals who are unlawfully at large.

‘Operation Relentless’ is focused on tracking down people who failed to turn up at court and are wanted by the police for criminal offences.

The new drive to crack down on crime in the city is being piloted in Derry and was initiated at Strand Road police station at the beginning of October.

Announcing the public launch of the operation yesterday, Derry’s PSNI Area Commander Chief Inspector Jon Burrows revealed that the city’s crime rate is now the lowest in the last decade. He said that ‘Operation Relentless’ was part of a plan to continue that trend.

“The operation has been running since the beginning of October and to date police have arrested 44 people on warrants and 14 people for breaching their bail conditions. As the name suggests it’s a relentless focus on catching criminals in Derry.

“Police will also be conducting nightly curfew checks on those persons charged with crime who have bail conditions and we will rigorously enforce bail conditions - if you are on curfew expect us to call,” Chief Inspector Burrows warned.

He added that burglars will be “prioritised” in the crackdown.

Officers at Strand Road are currently researching hundreds of cases where individuals had not bothered turning up for court hearings, failed to pay fines in relation to criminal convictions and who are suspected of carrying out criminal offences.

CI Burrows said his officers have been tasked to make attempts to track offenders down “by all lawful” means to bring them to justice.

Public help

The police chief said that the public may also be called upon to assist in tracking down offenders through the publication of mugshots in the local media. “We are actively considering releasing their details to the public to seek their assistance in bringing these people to justice.”

The latest crackdown was launched after what CI Burrows described as a “fantastic year” for the PSNI in the city.

“Crime is at its lowest in Foyle in over a decade. This year there have been 100 fewer victims of burglary, over a 150 fewer victims of assault and anti social behaviour over the spring and summer was reduced by over 600 incidents. This means a better quality of life for all our citizens.”

CI Burrows paid tribute to the public for helping to cut crime in the community.

“This success could not have been achieved without the help and active support of our partners, community leaders and the public.

Reducing crime and making people feel safer in their homes is of primary importance to police. The public should feel confident that officers in Foyle are taking all necessary steps to disrupt criminal activity in the local area.”