News

Alcohol crime figures ‘distorts’ Newry image

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Alcohol crime figures ‘distorts’ Newry image thumbnailCHAIRPERSON of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr Roisin Mulgrew.

RECENTLY appointed Council Chairperson Roisin Mulgrew insists that Newry is a safe place to socialise despite Monaghan Street having the fifth most alcohol-related incidents in the north.

According to recently released PSNI statistics, Monaghan Street had the fifth most violent incidents in the north from the period between 2014-2016, with McDonald's at Donegal Square in Belfast topping the poll with over 200 incidents in comparison to Monaghan Street's 27.

Mrs Mulgrew believes that the comparatively small number of offences at Monaghan Street makes Newry a safe place for people to socialise and feels that the report distorts the image of the city as a whole.

She said: "From the police's point of view, they don't see that there is any major problems with Newry, in terms of it being a city where thousands of people come in every weekend to socialise.

"The breakdown of the figure is that it equates to roughly one incident a month, which, when you look at the number of people who come in and out of the city to socialise every week, is an extremely low percentage.

"We accept that any incidents are too many; the council and PCSP and the police are always constantly try to and promote safety and a good image for Newry. I believe that we've a well-deserved good image, because if you look at those figures in context, it's a very, very low number.

"This isn't truly reflective of what's going on in the town, as there's thousands of people who come into Newry on a Friday and Saturday night, so the image of Newry is being distorted in this, because it is an extremely safe place to go, as we taxis and businesses that have worked very closely with people and the police to make it a safe place."

Echoing Councillor Mulgrew's sentiments about Newry being a safe place to go out, SDLP Councillor Gary Stokes, said: "In this country the licensing laws are such that everywhere closes at the same time and people are getting out onto the street at the same time looking for fast food, so there's always going to be a risk of trouble.

"However, I'd always feel safe standing on Monaghan Street on a Friday or Saturday night - Newry's certainly not as bad as some of the towns and cities in England, as it works out at roughly one incident a month, though that does certainly need attention."

Commenting on the statistics, Superintendent Simon Walls said police were "committed to doing everything we can to tackle this problem."

"Each year, police officers attend incidents at fast-food outlets where a variety of offences have been committed. Quite a number of these are alcohol-related, where individuals engage in criminal damage, public order, or other offences.

"We would reassure local businesses that we are committed to doing everything we can to tackle this problem but this is not an issue policing alone can solve and we continue to work closely with those within the business community, our partners in the councils, agencies and community groups to address it," said Mr Walls.

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