NI Policing Board targets cut in crime against elderly

Chief constable George Hamilton' addresses the NI Policing Board: Photograph: Presseye.com
Chief constable George Hamilton' addresses the NI Policing Board: Photograph: Presseye.com

New Policing Board targets aimed at reducing crimes against the elderly have been welcomed by Northern Ireland’s commissioner for older people.

Claire Keatinge said the PSNI’s own figures show that older victims of crime were much less likely to see the perpetrators brought to justice, and that specific targets were necessary.

The commissioner said that although the level of violent crime against the elderly is relatively low, the number of recorded offences has increased in recent years.

“This is simply not acceptable,” she said.

“I am pleased that the Policing Board (NIPB) have taken on board my analysis and recommendations, and hope that regular review of these targets will lead to better outcomes for older victims of crime, and ultimately a reduction in crimes against older people,” Ms Keatinge added.

In its latest policing plan yesterday, the Board set out the strategic priorities, saying they were designed to improve the quality of service - particularly to those who are more vulnerable.

Regular review of these targets will lead to better outcomes for older victims of crime

Claire Keatinge, Commissioner for Older People

NIPB chairwoman Anne Connolly said “keeping people safe” was a main aim.

“Tackling crime in rural areas, crimes against older people, increasing the reporting of hate crime and reducing PSNI sickness levels are just some of the new measures introduced for 2015-16,” she said.

Ms Connolly added: “In addition, reducing incidents of violent crime, domestic abuse, enforcement of road traffic offences, tackling organised crime and drugs in the community are some of the other areas prioritised for the PSNI in the year ahead. The aim of the plan is to keep people safe through prevention of crime, protection of people and communities and detecting those who commit crime and bringing them to justice.”

Throughout the year, NIPB monitors police performance and publishes its findings through news releases, social media and its annual report.

Commenting on the targets set out in the plan, chief constable George Hamilton said it reflects that “this is a time of significant change in policing”.

He said: “There is no doubt that the financial challenges facing the service means we will have to take difficult decisions in the future. We must adapt to these pressures and challenges whilst keeping communities at the heart of everything we do. Against the backdrop of an extremely challenging public finance environment, this plan will ensure the most effective and efficient use of finances, officers and staff.”

Mr Hamilton added: “Keeping people safe is what we do; policing with the community is how we do it. We are committed to achieving all that is laid out in this challenging policing plan. But we will not achieve success alone. The board, PCSPs and the community, have an important role to play.”