I was called out to the YMCA in Newcastle by staff who were quite shocked at the reaction of the PSNI to a break-in at the centre.
Staff laptops and ‘phones were stolen by an identifiable group of people you also stole furniture to break up and burn while camping without permission and engaging in a raucous drinking party on the site.
Police were called, no arrests were made, no attempt was made to recover the PC’s and phones of volunteer YMCA staff that had come from the USA to help look after the young people using the YMCA facilities.
Mild rebukes were given out and no names were taken. This followed the previous weekend where a similar rampage though a caravan park in Newcastle resulted in none of those involved being charged.
As a member of the Policing Partnership, I contacted the police to demand action, and when none was forthcoming I contacted the duty Inspector, and when that did no good I finally contacted Commander Deirdre Bones, and finally CID and other police action belatedly arrived on the scence 48 hours later.
While the response after contacting the commander was good, policing in Down District cannot depend on Councillors like myself being forced to contact the police commander.
Theft of laptops, phones or taking furniture out of peoples houses for bonfires clearly should result in immediate arrest.
There is a huge fear amongst people across Down District that the loss of holding cells in Downpatrick is going to result in grave situations like this not resulting in arrests or investigation as police are reluctant to strip local cover while taking criminals to holding cells in Belfast or Bangor.