Policing group will keep going despite cuts

Members of the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership at the first meeting at Ardeevin, Ballymena, recently. Elected members: Reuben Glover, Samuel Hanna, Cheryl Johnston, Lynn McClurg, Gregg McKeen, Andrew Wilson, William McNeilly, Brian Collins, Paul Sinclair, Patrice Hardy. Independent Members: Noel Rogan, Jonathan Cooke, Emma McIlveen, Wendy Kerr, Margaret Hawkins, Ashleigh Perry, Marian Maguire, Brenda Leslie, Rodney Quigley. Picture submitted.

Members of the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership at the first meeting at Ardeevin, Ballymena, recently. Elected members: Reuben Glover, Samuel Hanna, Cheryl Johnston, Lynn McClurg, Gregg McKeen, Andrew Wilson, William McNeilly, Brian Collins, Paul Sinclair, Patrice Hardy. Independent Members: Noel Rogan, Jonathan Cooke, Emma McIlveen, Wendy Kerr, Margaret Hawkins, Ashleigh Perry, Marian Maguire, Brenda Leslie, Rodney Quigley. Picture submitted.

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The Chairman of Mid & East Antrim’s Policing Partnership (PCSP) says it is “imperative” to keep the body going despite significantly reduced funding.

Alderman Gregg McKeen’s comment came at the October monthly meeting of Council in Ballymena last week when members had to take a decision on whether or not to continue their participation in the borough’s Police and Community Safety Partnership.

Council’s Chief Executive Anne Donaghy reminded members that the Action Plans of the three predecessor PCSP’s of Larne, Carrick and Ballymena had a combined budget of over £476k during 2014-15 which currently stands, following finance cuts, at £170k.

Mrs Donaghy, along with the PCSP Chair and Vice-Chair, were advised at a meeting with Department of Justice officials on September 11 that there would not be any further allocation this financial year.

In her report to councillors last week, she said it was clear that “a number of ongoing projects will not be able to be funded and will have to come to an end.

“The Council needs to decide whether there is value in continuing the work of the PCSP in light of this very difficult financial situation.”

Mrs Donaghy pointed out, however, that the existing funding allocation was sufficient to pay for staffing until the end of next March and suggested that Council move forward with the PCSP until then when its structure and validity could be reviewed as information was acquired on next year’s budget.

Councillors approved her recommendation on the proposal of Councillor McKeen who said: “I think it is imperative to keep the PCSP going with what funding we have.”