Burglaries: East Belfast

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 22nd February 2016.

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Photo of Andy Allen Andy Allen UUP 2:30 pm, 22nd February 2016

T5. Mr Allen asked the Minister of Justice to outline the discussions he has had with the PSNI on tackling burglaries in East Belfast. (AQT 3525/11-16)

Photo of David Ford David Ford Alliance

I have not specifically discussed burglaries in East Belfast with the PSNI because that is very much an operational issue for the Chief Constable. Whilst we discuss general policing matters, we do not discuss that level of operational detail.

Photo of Andy Allen Andy Allen UUP

I thank the Minister for his answer. Constituents from throughout East Belfast have come to me with concerns about the rise in burglaries in the constituency. Will budget constraints have any impact on the PSNI's ability to tackle such crime?

Photo of David Ford David Ford Alliance

I thank Mr Allen for the question. At every Question Time that I have done in the last year, I have highlighted the fact that budgetary restrictions are being imposed on the PSNI. It has to deal with significant and severe crimes or threats of crime, with the result that there has been reprioritisation and, therefore, an inevitable slight increase in burglaries. The statistics show a significant decrease in the number of burglaries in Northern Ireland over the last seven or eight years. In that context, much though we might wish it, we cannot expect an ever-decreasing level of crime, and I suspect that, if there is reprioritisation because of budget restrictions being imposed on the Department of Justice, it is inevitable that there will be some increase in burglaries.