Trevor Clarke: PSNI should not pay the price for safeguarding failures

The DUP’s South Antrim MLA and lead Policing Board representative Trevor Clarke has warned that local policing should not pay the price for a failure by the Department of Health and Health and Social Care Trusts to address safeguarding concerns about vulnerable persons in their care.

By Trevor Clarke MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting after Thursday’s meeting of the Policing Board, Mr Clarke said:

‘‘While I commend the PSNI on their work to date in progressing the criminal investigation into allegations of abuse at Muckamore Abbey, this has proven to be resource intensive, with thousands of hours of CCTV footage to review. I have previously urged the PSNI to make the case for additional resources to expedite this work. This would give clarity to the victims, their loved ones and staff currently working at the facility.

The Muckamore investigation is a symptom of a failure by the Department of Health and hospitals to put in place robust and effective systems for safeguarding the most vulnerable patients, including those with mental health needs and learning disabilities. Lessons must be learned from this, first and foremost to protect the wellbeing of patients but also to lesson the pressures placed on our emergency services moving forward.

From speaking to local officers, it would appear that a significant amount of their time is spent responding to crisis situations for which responsibility ultimately rests with our health and social care system. It is vital that the PSNI proactively engage with the Department of Health and indeed all departments and agencies to ensure there is a joined-up and sustainable approach to these issues.’’

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