The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has highlighted its concerns about rural crime and policing during a Stormont meeting.
At the meeting organised by BASC, the association’s Northern Ireland director Tommy Mayne and the chairman of the Northern Ireland Firearms Dealers’ Association, Derek Beattie, met the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee chairman Paul Frew (DUP) MLA and the Justice Committee chairman Paul Givan (DUP) MLA to discuss rural crime and the lack of Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) resources.
Tommy Mayne said: “We welcome the opportunity to discuss the concerns of the shooting and farming communities with leading politicians as there are many people within those communities who feel that PSNI lacks the resources to tackle rural crime. BASC also feels that it is important that our political representatives hear first hand from the victims of rural crime.”
BASC has recently been successful in helping to establish a network of Neighbourhood Watch schemes in rural areas of South East Antrim.
Tommy Mayne added: “Working in partnership with the shooting and farming communities, PSNI, local residents’ groups and the Northern Ireland Firearms Dealers’ Association we have been successful in helping to establish a number of Neighbourhood Watch schemes in the Larne area.”
Paul Frew MLA said: "I support BASC on this issue. There is a great sense of frustration in rural areas of Northern Ireland at present and I believe that actions and initiatives like the rural Neighbourhood Watch schemes which can network together will help to ease some of the frustration and alleviate some of the fear around rural theft and wider rural crime in general. This will also go some way in assisting the PSNI to build up intelligence in these areas and it is vital that they use that information to get results and put these criminals behind bars where they belong, they have been the scourge of the rural community for too long."
Anyone interested in setting up or joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can contact their local district council or PSNI Neighbourhood policing team.
Pictured (left to right) – Tommy Mayne, Paul Givan MLA, Laurence Wilson (chairman of Gleno Community Association), Paula McMaster (Neighbourhood Watch coordinator), Paul Frew MLA and Derek Beattie.