This week in Belfast a special partnership between local businesses and the Police Service of Northern Ireland was marked and a celebration of the last 11 years of work recognised.
Representatives from the PSNI, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Belfast City Centre Management came together to mark the 11th anniversary of the City Centre Beat Initiative.
The Initiative serves to provide additional police officers to improve the quality of life issues for business owners, workers and the public who use, shop, live and visit Belfast City Centre.
Chief Inspector Robert Murdie said;
“Today marks a milestone of a special partnership which has achieved a great deal over the last 11 years. The valuable partnership between police and the business and retail sector demonstrates that by working together we can address the challenges which face us in making Belfast a safe and prosperous city for all citizens and visitors.
“The partnership involves two dedicated police officers working with businesses, transport providers and other agencies, to enhance feelings of safety and thereby creating a safer and more attractive environment.
“The officers focus on issues such as; illegal street trading, challenging all forms of anti-social behaviour, facilitating the flow of public transport around the city centre, contributing to the co-ordinated approach to managing those suffering from chronic social need and tackling aspects such as criminal damage.”
Hugh Black, president of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce said,
“The partnership which the Chamber has enjoyed with the PSNI for the past 11 years has been paramount in making Belfast a better place to work, live and visit.
“Chamber members have, and will continue to benefit from the scheme by having direct mobile phone access to the two officers who are solely deployed in Belfast city centre, this, along with the physical presence of the officers, and their ability to be at a business premise within minutes is crucial to the city’s commerce.”
He concluded: “The PSNI Belfast Beat officers have to be commended for the role they play in managing and reducing these instances, making Belfast a safer and more attractive city for everyone.”
Commenting on the success of the ongoing partnership William McGivern, Chairman, Belfast City Centre Management said, “The City Centre is Belfast’s ‘shop window’. People who live, work and visit should feel safe while going about their business. It must provide welcoming streets free from anti-social behaviour.
“Over the past 11 years, the City Centre Beat initiative has been crucial in achieving that goal. By showing that Belfast is a safe place to do business, we will convey a strong and positive message to potential investors and visitors and maximise the opportunity for economic growth.”
William concluded: “This initiative is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to tackle a shared problem and will contribute to the overall drive to make Belfast a safe and attractive place for everyone”.