Protecting property and reducing the fear of crime were discussed at a Neighbourhood Watch conference in Portrush.
The event was organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership, the PSNI and local scheme co-ordinators.
Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership between local communities, the PSNI and PCSPs, with the aim of helping people protect themselves and the area in which they live.
The scheme creates effective communication between residents and the police, with local co-ordinators acting as the primary point of contact.
Guest speakers at this year’s event spoke about how to avoid falling victim to scams as well as internet safety. Discussions also took place around a joint Policing Board and PSNI consultation which aims to consult and explore how police can deliver the most effective local policing.
Opening the event, held in The Royal Court Hotel, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and PCSP member Councillor Brenda Chivers said: “Neighbourhood Watch is a worthwhile initiative that delivers greater vigilance in communities and educates residents on the best way to protect their homes and their families.
“It is of particular benefit to elderly people in the community who may be more vulnerable to crime and will hopefully ensure they are happier in their own homes. The scheme is open to everyone and I would encourage as many neighbourhoods in the area to join up in the near future.”
Speaking at the conference PSNI Superintendent Jeremy Lindsay said: “The Neighbourhood Watch service is a valuable and practical partnership approach to preventing crime and sharing information.
“This year’s conference has once again highlighted the enthusiasm and support for Neighbourhood Watch right across Causeway Coast and Glens. It has also provided us with an opportunity to launch the local policing review consultation.
“We have increasing complexity in crime and demand and we have other non-crime demands placed on us such as mental health issues, safeguarding, increasing vulnerability and more technical and complex crime.
“We have to look at how we can do things different and we want the public’s help with this so that we continue to provide the service they need.”
Chairperson of Causeway Coast and Glens PCSP, Margaret Anne McKillop, added: “Events such as this provide vital opportunities for local co-ordinators and members of the public to meet police and discuss issues of concern in their communities.
“We welcome the Policing Board and PSNI consultation on local policing today. It is hoped that everyone takes the opportunity to express their views and help shape the delivery of the most effective local policing, ensuring Causeway Coast and Glens remains one of the safest areas to live, work and visit”
In the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area, there are currently 59 schemes covering over 3000 households.
If you are interested in setting up a scheme or if you would like further information on Neighbourhood Watch, please contact Causeway Coast and Glens Policing and Community Safety Partnership at any of the following locations:
Ballycastle: Sheskburn House, 7 Mary Street, BT54 6QH Tel: 028 207 62225
Coleraine: Cloonavin, 66 Portstewart Road, BT52 1EY Tel: 028 703 47031
Ballymoney: Riada House, 14 Charles Street, Ballymoney, BT53 6DZ Tel: 028 276 60254
Limavady: Council Offices, 7 Connell Street, Limavady, BT49 0HA Tel: 028 777 60304