Safer city as communities unite

Published Thursday, 10 May 2012
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A new initiative has been launched in Belfast to encourage communities to work with the police to make their areas safer.

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Run by a Manchester based charity ROC (Redeeming Our Communities), the scheme is already achieving impressive results.

ROC has been working hard to establish itself in Northern Ireland for four years.

The aim is to change communities for the better by creating partnerships between the great and the good - police and other groups work in partnership with churches and voluntary organisations.

The charity believes local problems can be solved with practical solutions.

Graham Simmons, from the charity, told UTV: "We're just seeing everything that is happening at the moment in terms of the cuts with local authority budgets and so on.

"The impact they are having on communities with clubs having to close. We read about that all the time and ROC is all about helping local people to say 'hey we can actually make a difference.'

It's something the PSNI believe will work well within the new community safety strategy.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott told UTV: "We want to see our officers being able to go to different churches and encourage them to work together, where there is a need.

"So whether that's in providing places for young people to go, whether it's in creating street warden schemes, whether it is supporting the elderly, you know we have a fear of crime amongst the elderly at the moment, there are so many things that can be done."

ROC says crime levels have dropped by up to 50% in other areas they've worked in.

It's given fresh hope to communities in England - now it's hoped the same can be done here.
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