SF men take over key roles on city’s new committees

Former prisoner is to chair Belfast policing

By Francesca Ryan

T he local District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) are facing an overhaul in the next two months. After nine years, the current arrangement is set to change with the DPPs merging with Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) to form Police and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs).

These new partnerships will bring together within a single body the functions and responsibilities currently undertaken by DPPs and CSPs.

Belfast will have one overarching PCSP and four District Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (DPCSPs) for West, North, South and East of the city.

Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McVeigh – a former IRA prisoner – is set to chair the Belfast PCSP while his colleague Matt Garrett has been nominated to chair the West Belfast area.

PCSPs will be expected to consult and engage with the local community, identifying and prioritising issues of concern. They will also monitor police performance and work to gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime

“This will give us the chance to scrutinise the cops and influence policing plans, we will be keeping an eye on what they do and when they do it,” said Councillor McVeigh.

“It is a great opportunity for us to engage with police and push issues that are being brought to our attention as part of the community policing strategy.

“I look forward to ensuring that the police are working with the community and local organisations on issues and that they are responding to the issues appropriately.

Matt Garrett explained the make-up of the West Belfast DPCSP.

“The Belfast DPCSP will have six political members and five independent members, we will have the legal responsibility to do what the DPPs did.

“All those with a remit in community safety will be at the table, for example the Probation Board and the Housing Executive. In addition, each district will have the flexibility to bring other groups on board, for example Community Restorative Justice, as they have a very clear view of what happens in the area.

“We welcome these new structures but they need to be extremely reflective of what the community needs – that’s the challenge.

“The delivery of community safety and better policing in West Belfast are crucial and we are looking forward to holding the different bodies to account to deliver that.”

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