Sometimes the news here in Northern Ireland is unbelievable, like today as reported on the BBC website…
Youths on roof ‘not prosecuted’
The minister of an east Belfast church vandalised by youths has criticised a decision not to bring any prosecutions.
During the summer stained glass windows at St Donard’s in the Bloomfield area were smashed and its roof was damaged.
Pictures of children on the roof were taken, but the Public Prosecution Service has written to the church saying there is not enough evidence.
The rector, Rev Charles McCartney, has said he intends to appeal their decision.
“If the prosecution service don’t do this, then it sends a message to the young men involved that there’s nothing the police can do,” Rev McCartney.
“It says to the local people there’s no point ringing the police, it also says to the police themselves ‘what’s the point in taking a case’.
“Really, we’re back to square one and in a way Bloomfield has been told it’s open season.”
I had a look at the Church of Ireland website and a statement made by the Rev Harold Millar the Bishop of Down and Dromore. Back in September he highlighted issues which included…
- The abuse of places of worship.
- The inadequacy of community policing.
- The lack of common sense.
The inadequacy of community policing. For whatever reason, the story of policing this past week at St Donard’s is the all-too-common cry of ordinary citizens in their own homes and lives: The lack of visibility of police on the streets, the difficulty in getting hold of police in the community, the slow response in situations which means that it is too late to catch those who are committing the crime, and the perceived response, ‘There’s nothing we can do’.
It leaves decent everyday folk that encounter anti social behaviour regularly with questions like ‘Should we call the police?’ ‘What can the police do anyway?’ ‘Should I seek help to deal with this elsewhere?’