Last DPP meeting hears of area’s youth work

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MEMBERS of Banbridge’s District Policing Partnership and Community Safety Partnership gathered for the last time last week ahead of their merging to become the Policing and Community Safety Partneship later this year.

In presenting his nine-month report to the politicans and members of the public who had gathered at the Belmont Hotel last Thursday, Chief Inspector Ken Mawhinney said he is confident the latest figures show that policing in Banbridge continues to perform well.

Comparing statistics from last year Chief Inspector Mawhinney said burglaries and thefts have fallen for the period from April until December last year.

There has been an increase in the number of non-domestic assaults and incidents of anti-social behaviour since 2010.

Mr Mawhinney said the increase in non-domestic violence – almost 30 per cent – across the district did not have him “unduly worried” as the figures recorded are still relatively low.

Speaking about anti-social behaviour, Inspector Jacqui Gillespie said local police will continue to tackle this issue.

There were at least 300 incidents of an anti-social nature in each quarter of last year since April.

A number of youth groups and leaders spoke to the DPP to detail the work they are doing, particularly in addressing issues affecting young people locally.

REACT, a drugs and alcohol awareness group, told those gathered that they are currently seeking funding from the Public Health Agency to guarantee a further three-year presence in the district.

The efforts of Rhythm, a Saturday night volunteer-run youth group held in Banbridge Leisure Centre, were also heard.

Youth leader Scott McSpadden said a number of young teens who have attended the group for food, chat and games, have voiced how much they appreciate having somewhere to be at the weekend.

He explained that young people can talk to the volunteers about problems they may be having, and can receive work and educational advice.

But Scott added that the group neeeds more volunteers to become involved and has plenty of spaces for more teenagers to attend.

The local students also spoke of their involvement in Banbridge District Youth Council, thanking all those involved for giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions on different issues in the area.

DPP chair Chris Nelmes closed the meeting by thanking the police, council, political and independent members, community workers and everyone else involved for contributing to the success of the partnership over the years.