Northern Ireland

Paramilitary-style shootings double, PSNI statistics show

Paramilitary mural Image copyright PACEMAKER
Image caption Republican paramilitaries were behind 25 of the 28 shootings, while loyalists carried out the majority of assaults

Police say they are "working hard" to bring those carrying out paramilitary shootings to court after the number of such attacks doubled in the last year.

Twenty-eight paramilitary-style shootings were recorded in 2016/17.

Republicans were believed to be responsible for 25 of them and loyalists for the other three. Four of the victims were under 20.

A further 66 people were the victims of paramilitary-style assaults, police said.

  • In 2016/17 there were 28 paramilitary shootings compared to 14 in 2015/16
  • There were 66 paramilitary assaults in 2016/17 compared to 58 the previous year

Loyalists were responsible for 56 of those and republicans the remaining 10.

"I acknowledge the increase in the number of victims as a result of paramilitary style attacks and would reassure local communities that we are continuing to focus on these crimes," Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Dep Ch Const Drew Harris said the police would continue to focus on paramilitary crimes

"The PSNI is working hard to bring those responsible for these types of crimes before the courts, however, we also need the support from the public in providing us with the information we need to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Overall, crime is at its lowest level in Northern Ireland for almost 20 years, according to the latest police crime statistics.

In 2016-17, just over 98,000 crimes were recorded by the police - a drop of 6.6% on the previous year.

Cyber crime

Dep Ch Const Harris said that, although recorded crimes were falling, the demand on policing was increasing with "less-visible, more complex crimes such as public protection offending and cyber crime" coming to the fore.

Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said:

"While it is welcome that recorded crime is down in the majority of the crime classifications, and overall figures are now sitting at the lowest recorded level, there are some individual statistics that generate particular concern."

Ms Connolly said the figures would be subject to further analysis, and the board awaited a report from the chief constable.