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PSNI constables for Belfast BIDs

In Belfast, two city centre business improvement districts (BIDs), Linen Quarter and Cathedral Quarter, have announced a joint partnership that will see two dedicated Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) constables patrol the areas at agreed times.

The initiative, dubbed Belfast’s #StreetBeat, will see two PSNI officers patrol the areas’ cafés, bars, restaurants and hotel filled streets during the busy afternoons and evenings. The team will split their time between the two districts. Officers will receive a dedicated mobile phone, meaning business owners in both Quarters will be able to reach their assigned constable directly.

Gareth Neill, Cathedral Quarter BID Manager, said: “Destination CQ BID is committed to ensure that Cathedral Quarter and Smithfield remains a safe and enjoyable destination and great place to work, visit and invest in. By introducing additional security measures and working closely with key partners, we aim to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and provide our business community with the best levels of support and advice.

“This is a direct call to action from the businesses so, we’re delighted to have secured this from September 2019. Additional PSNI officers sends out an extremely strong message about our commitment towards tackling crime and improving perceptions of safety, no matter what time of day people visit. The CQ Street Beat officers will give businesses a recognisable face in the locality who you will be able to liaise with directly and enhance the current Police service provision in the City Centre.”

And Chris McCracken, Managing Director at Linen Quarter BID added: “The additional police presence is part of our commitment to support Belfast’s vibrant evening economy, including the 50 hotels and hospitality venues already located in the Linen Quarter. LQ Street Beat will enhance policing around the Transport Hub providing friendly advice and assurance to visitors and commuters alike; and will adopt a problem-solving approach alongside a range of agencies to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour throughout the District.”

“Our new police team represents an important partnership between the Linen and Cathedral Quarter BIDs and the PSNI – a good example of how the business community and police can work together to deliver a safer Belfast.”

Background

As with the hundreds of BIDs around the UK, LQ and CQ BIDs spend income levied from businesses inside their areas on things that the local authority may not, typically for marketing, events and cleaning, besides on-street crime prevention and ambassador-style meeting and greeting.

PSNI Chief Supt Jonathan Roberts, Belfast District Commander said: “Our two dedicated officers, who will be supported by local and neighbourhood policing teams, will work in close partnership with the business, retail, education and leisure sectors in the Linen and Cathedral Quarters. Regular engagement with Linen Quarter BID and Destination CQ will ensure we are focused on addressing agreed needs and priorities, maximising police visibility and building trusted collaboration.

“Challenging all forms of anti-social behaviour, addressing illegal street trading and signposting vulnerable people to appropriate support are just some examples of the work that will take place.”

Photo by Mark Rowe; sign by the Duke of York pub, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast.


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