Appeal to dissidents to leave PSNI camera alone

PSNI camera cut down in Dungiven. (DERR3101SJ1)
PSNI camera cut down in Dungiven. (DERR3101SJ1)

Councillors in Dungiven have made a direct appeal to dissident republicans to “use common sense” and “accept” the presence of a PSNI camera that is to be replaced in the town.

Police have confirmed to the ‘Journal’ they will replace the automatic number plate recognition camera that was cut down twice by dissident republicans in recent months. The camera, positioned just outside the town on the Glenshane side of Dungiven, was cut down for the second time between late on 30th January and the early hours of Saturday 31st January. Previously, it had been cut down in early November, with the ‘North Derry Republican Group’ claiming responsibility.

Chief Inspector Alan Hutton, the Limavady Area Commander, said: “The damaged camera on this important stretch of the A6 will be replaced.

“ANPR cameras are important to police in keeping people safe from crime. They are in place to detect and deter motoring offences and the activities of mobile criminals. The Police Service is committed to maintaining a system that ensures that people in all parts of Northern Ireland have the same protection from the activities of criminals and motoring offenders.”

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey welcomed the move, saying: “Hopefully, this time, the people who cut it down before will use some common sense and accept the camera and leave it alone.

“People were annoyed that it had been cut down. People accept it and, certainly, no one ever came to me and complained about it. The only complaints I got were ones that it had been cut down.”

Colr. McGlinchey added: “The people who cut it down before must accept the will of the community and leave it be. It’s there to protect the community. It’s a fixed camera that recognises vehicle number plates, not faces.”

SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said: “It’s a vital part of equipment for traffic policing. There just doesn’t seem to be much sense in cutting it down. It is there to keep the community safe, and I would appeal to those who cut it down before to refrain from causing any further damage. When people I spoke with realised what it’s for, they didn’t see much sense in cutting it down.”