Elderly crime issue raised by Campbell
23 November 2012
JUSTICE Minister David Ford has been challenged over what action he is taking about fear of crime amongst elderly people, by East Londonderry’s MP Gregory Campbell.
Back in August, the Sentinel ran news on its front page of the volume of crimes against people aged 65 or over in Limavady. In the most recent policing year, 2011/12, the figures showed there to be a crime against an older person at a rate of around once every four days.
Elderly charity Age Sector Platform revealed that its own research had found one in two elderly people in County Londonderry to be living in fear of crime.
Now, DUP MP Gregory Campbell has questioned the Justice Minister on whether he will undertake his own research into the fear of crime against the elderly and whether he will “offer assurance to elderly people regarding the penalties available to the courts for people found guilty of such criminal activity.”
Mr Ford replied: “Tackling crime against older and vulnerable people is a commitment for my Department within the Programme for Government and the Community Safety Strategy.
“The Community Safety Strategy includes a commitment to improve our understanding of the fear of crime. As part of this commitment, my Department is currently in discussions with partners to consider research on fear of crime and its impact on vulnerable people.
“As part of the Programme for Government commitment I intend to develop and build on work already underway to build community confidence in sentencing.
“Under the current legislative framework, custodial offences are available to the judiciary for those convicted of serious crime. Sentencing decisions within this legislative framework are a matter for the independent judiciary. In making these decisions, judges are guided by sentencing guidelines which already indicate that the courts should treat the age and vulnerability of the victim as aggravating factors.
SOURCE: The Londonderry Sentinel, UK
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