'PERSONAL, professional and protective policing service,' is what the new PSNI Area Commander, Chief Inspector Darrin Jones, hopes to bring to Lisburn. Mr Jones (44), who took over in the city in April - his predecessor David Moore moved to HQ after returning from a three month course in America - said he is committed to making the community safer and looks forward to challenges ahead in his new post. During his 18 years in the police Mr Jones has served in Dungannon, Bangor, Omagh, North Down and Belfast and he has been a Chief Inspector for two years. Before taking up his post he completed two years as project manager with a major IT project Causeway Programme at HQ - creating a new records management system for the PSNI.
Mr Jones, who is married with two young children, said one of his main priorities will be to increase the number of police officers on operational duty outside stations. "My predecessor did a great job in leaving me with a team of officers and support staff who are very committed to serving the people of Lisburn," he said.
"I will not make change for change's sake, but if anything requires attention to improve the delivery of service to the citizens of Lisburn, I won't hesitate to make the necessary improvements.
"One of my early priorities on the Lisburn Policing Plan is to increase the number of police officers on operational duty outside stations. It is important as a Policing service that we are visible and accessible to the community and that we are not tied up in administration and bureaucracy."
But he stressed the police need community support to be fully effective.
He said: "We are dedicated to working with local neighbourhoods and providing a more personal service but we can only do this with the support of the community."
Among his main aims is to reduce burglaries, deal with anti social behaviour, deal with drugs and catch more people who are breaking the law.
"Unfortunately many recent burglaries in Lisburn are caused by people leaving their doors and windows unsecured" he said. "I would appeal to the community to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to operate by locking doors, windows and reporting suspicious activity." Mr Jones also said he will deal with anti social behaviour robustly. "This is a subject that dominates every community meeting and as a result it is now a strategic priority for the whole of D district" he explained. "We will continue to form partnerships and engage with groups who can assist to reduce anti social behaviour, and where diversion fails, I will ensure that it is dealt with in a robust manner." Turning to drugs, he said the police in the city will continue to work in partnership with schools and statutory and voluntary agencies to reduce drugs misuse and to educate citizens, particularly young people on the dangers caused by involvement in illegal and misused prescription drugs.
"We will also continue, in partnership with others, to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the road," he said. "I had the misfortune to personally attend the scene of a road traffic where two people died and four were seriously injured.
"This has a devastating effect on the victims, their loved ones and my officers who have to deal with the carnage. I would personally appeal to all road users to respect the speed limits and to drive in a manner appropriate to the road conditions prevailing at the time. "Unbelievably, the weekend after this accident, my officers arrested six motorists for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. While it was good work by my officers, the fact that these people have still not grasped the message of don't drink and drive is astounding."
Mr Jones continued: "This is a very challenging area with a diverse array of Policing demands. I'm committed to the job of making our community safer. This will involve engaging with people, listening to them and delivering real solutions to help address the issues that matter in their neighbourhoods.
"Working in partnership with the community, I'm confident that I have the team in place to make a positive difference, and to make Lisburn a safer place to live and visit."