We have sought to minimise disruptions but due to the widespread nature of the protests this has sometimes meant delays and disruption. Where serious violence has broken out we have tried to contain and deal with it firmly and special courts have been set up to ensure speedy justice. I would like to thank you for the many messages of support we have received for those officers injured during the disorder.
The past year has also, however, contained much that is good and encouraging. We have continued to take forward our very ‘personal’ way of policing, answering more calls, giving you better information and doing everything possible to reduce crime and improve security. Crime is now at the lowest level for many years (including those against older people), burglaries and robberies have fallen again and road deaths have not been lower since records began in 1931.
We have conducted many successful operations against drug dealers and the feedback has been very positive. Confidence in the Service also rose throughout the year to a new high, although I recognise that we still have improvements to make and communities where trust still has to be earned. 2012 also saw hugely important events, such as the Irish Open, North West 200, Jubilee Celebrations and Olympic Torch Run, in which the PSNI played a key role in their success and in attracting further tourism and jobs. Once again, Northern Ireland will be on the World stage this year with the G8 summit, City of Culture and All Ireland Fleadh, and the World Police and Fire Games (in which it is anticipated there will be more competitors than the Commonwealth Games).
All of this I hope puts into perspective some of the sadder media images of recent weeks. Everyday, police officers show great courage in rescuing people, dealing with crime and putting their lives on the line to protect others. Whilst there remain some people committed to extreme violence as a way of preventing peace, the PSNI is committed to providing a genuinely personal, professional and protective service for the benefit of all.
I hope that you are assured of both our continued intentions and efforts.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott