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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 10:29 GMT
Racial crime crackdown urged
Attacks on ethnic minority groups have increased
Attacks on ethnic minority groups have increased
Police must crack down on rising levels of racial and homophobic attacks in Northern Ireland, the chief constable has been told.

Such incidents are to be tackled as part of a 774m strategy for running the Police Service of Northern Ireland over the next 12 months.

The latest Policing Plan, unveiled on Monday, outlines a list of targets which Chief Constable Hugh Orde must meet.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board urges the force to solve more murders, increase drugs seizures and strengthen public confidence in the force.

But with Asians and Africans in parts of Belfast fleeing their homes as attacks rose by 30% in the last year, Mr Orde has also been told to monitor the number of racist or homophobic incidents.

Acting assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said police were determined to bring the perpetrators before the courts.

She added: "Any crime is unacceptable but crimes motivated by prejudice or where the victim is vulnerable in any way are to be deplored.

Policing Plan objectives
Achieve a 55% clearance rate for violent crimes
Get confidence levels in policing street disorder up to 75%
Increase clearance rates for murders and manslaughters
Seize more illicit drugs
Cut domestic burglaries by 2% and vehicle crimes by 8%
Arrest more drink-drivers and speeders
Push public confidence in the police service up to 70%

"The police are working very hard in partnership with other agencies to protect those members of our community who are least able to protect themselves and to bring to justice those who carry out such crimes."

The plan sets out the challenge facing the PSNI for the next 12 months and forms part of a rolling three-year strategy which runs until 2007.

Seven objectives have been set by the board and Secretary of State Paul Murphy under the main aims of safety and public order, crime, public confidence and police reform.

Board Chairman Professor Desmond Rea said the plan was an important step forward.

Hugh Orde has been given a list of targets for the year
Hugh Orde has been given a list of targets for the year

He added: "The community is now at the heart of developing the policing priorities for the year, both in this plan and through the local planning process right across districts.

"As a result, we have focused on the issues and crimes that affect people's daily lives."

The plan was drawn up after 60,000 households were surveyed across the 26 district policing partnerships (DPPs) which hold local police chiefs to account.

The chief constable said the police service had achieved big successes in the last year, including a near-18% cut in car crimes, but pointed out there would be no let-up.

Mr Orde added: "The reduction in the number of burglaries and violent crimes and the increase in the amounts of drugs seized in the province is indicative of the results that can be achieved by a partnership approach.

"With the assistance of DPPs, we hope to build on this success in the future and are committed to moving towards a more bottom-up approach to planning in order to set local and service-wide targets."

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