Cllr Campbell, who is Newtownabbey District Policing Partnership Chairman said: “Just because we have powersharing does not mean to say that that local people and the authorities can lower their guard against vigilante paramilitarism. I want to strongly warn the public against any reliance on paramilitary style “justice”. This is an extremely dangerous option. People should never give these thugs any opportunities or credibility.
“This mob rule must be stamped out. Paramilitaries must be stopped from acting as judge, jury and executioner. They are the lowest of the low and it is them that should face the full rigors of our justice system.
“If local communities do not report criminal activity to the police and rely instead on local criminals to “police” other criminals, the inevitable consequence is more not less crime, where hardened criminals already outside the law becomes untouchable.
“I can understand the fear in local communities at what they perceive as a rise in crime but the way forward is to work with the police to try to combat this problem. It is clear that paramilitary organizations are seeking to cynically exploit local people’s fears about crime. People should never to ask those who are criminals themselves to mete out beatings and intimidation, because this approach puts everyone in the whole community at great risk. If people go to those other than the police, they will be strengthening the power of these sickening Mafia-style godfathers.
“Communities must free themselves from the cold grip of paramilitarism. To do this they must use the police to combat crime and show the paramilitaries that they have no support. It’s time that they disappeared for good.”