The Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge, has welcomed new targets aimed at bringing more offenders to justice for crimes committed against older people following their inclusion in the new Policing Plan 2015-2016.

The targets, which call for a 2% reduction in the number of domestic burglaries and robberies as well as a 2% improvement in outcome rates for older people, were introduced after persistent campaigning by the Commissioner, whose analysis of crime clearance rates had found that older victims of crime were much less likely to result in the perpetrator being brought to justice.

Claire Keatinge said:

"Crime against older people is universally condemned across our society and although the level of violent crime and burglary against older people is relatively low in Northern Ireland, each incident is traumatic for the victim and causes fear amongst the wider population. Older people deserve to have confidence to feel safe in their communities and in their homes

"PSNI figures have shown that the level of recorded crimes committed against older people has increased in recent years, with a notable increase in the incidence of violent crimes. This will not come as a surprise to most, as reports of attacks on older people in their homes regularly make the news.

"This is simply not acceptable, and I made repeated calls to the Policing Board and PSNI for the need for specific targets to improve crime clearance rates. This will not only lead to better outcomes for older victims of crime, but will also serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders by sending a clear message that they will be brought to justice.

"I am pleased that the Policing Board have taken on board my analysis and recommendations, and hope that regular review of these targets will lead to better outcomes for older victims of crime, and ultimately a reduction in crimes against older people."