Policing Board must maintain authority

THE GUARDS have got themselves into a right mess. A controversy a day has resulted in the loss of two chief of police within a short time. The amount of commentary and advice coming from all quarters has ensured that there is probably less public clarity now than there ever was. As one of the advice givers, I need to confess to some niggling guilt.

I get asked to comment on the affairs of An Garda Síochána because I was on the first Policing Board for the PSNI. I have written a few articles and done some media about what should happen to the Guards and I think that my views are straightforward. To bring change and efficiency to as big and as powerful an organization as An Garda Síochána, it needs to be clear in law and in the public understanding as to who is responsible for what. That there should be clear operational responsibility and clear policy responsibility. That a strong oversight body (with political represention) is best placed to oversee the necessary change and bring about as much transparency and accountability as possible.

It was the same argument and recommendation as in the Patten Report that established the PSNI and the Policing Board here. The niggle is that every time I made the argument the question popped up in my head as to how well (or badly) the Policing Board here is doing. I am always slow to comment on something of which I was a part but it was so long ago (ten years) that I am long relegated to another Joe Soap who has no inside information but has a continuing interest in the subject. The niggle was that I was out arguing its role and merits and all the time there is a voice in the back of my head saying that I am far from sure how the Policing Board here is doing. 

When, out of interest, I make the odd inquiry from other Joe Soaps as to who is on the board and what it does, there is an increasing number of vacant stares and shoulders. 

Then I open this newspaper during the week to learn that the board is in limbo and can’t reappoint its human rights lawyer. It is reported as another example of the result of the present political impasse up at Stormont. But the truth is that the board has been in limbo long before the impasse. When, out of interest, I make the odd inquiry from other Joe Soaps as to who is on the board and what it does, there is an increasing number of vacant stares and shrugs of shoulders. It doesn’t appear to have a presence. I seldom hear of it except as an aside to something happening in the polcing world. I know it publishes annual reports. I know it sets targets and reports on the achievements and failures of the police and I presume that if I took the bother to go looking I would find such reports. But being Joe Soap, I am sometimes too lazy and sometimes too busy to be going looking. I would appreciate some of it in my face.

The board has many responsibilities, the primary one to hold the chief constable (the police) to account for their performance. It does that job on behalf of the public and so it is important that it keeps the public informed and interested. I don’t expect it and I don’t want it to be in the news every day but policing is never a completed, done job. There are so many issues that need ongoing analysis, debate, scrutiny; issues such as drugs, paramilitaries, domestic violence, community policing, to name just a few. And then, of course, is the question of the quality of the service that is being delivered, something that needs constant monitoring. I hear the police view on many matters but I can’t remember the last time I heard the board’s view. I there is a public meeting every month or so, but that is the board asking asking questions of the police – it is not the view of the board. I don’t know who the spokesperson is. I know how difficult or impossible it is to get a consensus view on anything and the present political impasse makes it even more difficult. But all the more reason for a strong, authoritative, challenging voice that gives the public some sense of comfort and security. I think the Policing Board had established that authority and had been given a lot of trust from the public. That trust is easily lost and extremely difficult to reestablish.

With many thanks to: Denis Bradley and The Irish News. 

More Harassment Tonight from the Armed British Scum in the RUC/PSNI.

More RUC/PSNI Harassment Please report to a solicitor of localy “DON’T STAY SILENT!”

More harassment tonight from the armed british thugs in the psni ruc!!

Up to a dozen of these men where involved in  what can only be described as a clear case of harassment and intimidation of republicans on the streets of lurgan yet again!!

Your actions wont deter us!! In fact they will make us more resilliant againt all your attempts to intimidate us!!

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken”

With many thanks to: Christopher Hamill.

Read this I received today!!!! Two statements of absolute lies.

This reads that the police stopped me on grosvenor road & asked me for my license, they then say they stopped me on Stanley street (inside grosvenor police station)

The truth of this is that on that day, I was dragged from my car, arrested/detained under section 43 of the terrorism act & made to go grosvenor road psni where I was searched & my car was searched for 1 hour 40 mins where my phone was seized & car damaged

Then after I left the same officer approached me & proceeded to stop me from moving claiming road traffic order

They are now claiming that my car was full of tools & I was working as an aerial installer & are charging me with having inappropriate insurance

Not once during this whole fiasco was this mentioned nor does it mention the truth anywhere in this statement

With many thanks to: Ciárán Daly.

‘IRA” says it struck police vehicle with EFP (explosively formed projectile).

THE Republican paramilitary group known as the ‘IRA’ last night claimed it was “confident” it struck an RUC/PSNI vehicle with an EFP mortar in Strabane last week.

In a statement the organisation, sometimes referred to as the ‘New IRA’, said it fired the potentially lethal device at the passing patrol car at Townsend Street in the Tyrone town last Tuesday night. The group claims the EFP (explosively formed projectile) mortar contained Semtex and was triggered by command wire and fired from a distance of nine feet at the police vehicle as it passed at around 8pm. The ‘IRA’ claims that the mortar was moved from another location in the border town earlier on Tuesday after the security forces failed to show up.

Using a recognised codeword, the republican group claimed that an attempt to target a police car with the same device at Townsend Street was abandoned an hour before the attack because of the prescence of civillian vehicles in the area. The RUC/PSNI has said that the device, which it described as a “roadside bomb with command wire attached” was “designed to kill or seriously injure” its officers. Three officers who were travelling in the vehicle were uninjured but believed to be left shaken. The RUC/PSNI vehicle left the area after the attack and police were later criticised for failing to cordon off the scenne for three hours.

Several people were removed from their homes during a follow up operation but later allowed to return. Politicians have condemned the latest attack which came just weeks after the ‘IRA’ tried to kill a Catholic police officer in Derry using an undercar bomb. Policing Board member and SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said: “Such attacks on the PSNI (RUC) have no place in a modern progressive society.” DUP MLA Tom Buchánan said: “There must be a united and resolute stand from right across the political spectrum to such activities.”

In August 2015, a motar was discovered and disarmed at a cemetery in Strabane after a security operation. EFPs, which can pierce armour over a long distance, have been used by the ‘IRA’ in Derry and Belfast in the past. On those occasions no-one was injured. Unexploded EFPs have also been recovered by the security forces accross the north. Believed to have been developed in Iran, the homemade weapon was regularly used in Iraq. It is considered by some as the modern version of the horizontal mortar – known to republicans as a ‘doodle bug’ – which was used by the Provisionals. Meanwhile, police have been given additional time to question a 20-year-old man arrested in Newtownstewart in connection with the attack last week, while a 31-year-old man arrested on Saturday continued to be questioned last night.

With many thanks to: The Irish News, for the orgional story.

Corrupt prison officer arrested for supplying drugs – Maghaberry Prison

 
 A serving prison officer was among five people arrested as part of an investigation into trafficking banned items into Maghaberry Prison.

The 50-year-old was arrested at the prison on Tuesday morning.

A quantity of cash and drugs were seized in a joint operation carried out by the PSNI and the Prison Service.

Three properties were searched in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Kinallen, County Down.

The prison officer was questioned in relation to conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

A 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested in Newtownabbey.

A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast and a 50-year-old woman was arrested in Kinallen.

They were all released on bail pending further enquires late on Tuesday night.

The PSNI’s Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: “Detectives today seized £10,000 cash, a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and a number of mobile phones.

“This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to Keeping People Safe by removing harmful drugs from society.”

The head of the Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “I welcome the result of today’s joint operation with the PSNI and would take this opportunity to reiterate the zero tolerance drugs policy which operates within Northern Ireland’s prisons.”

Strabane security alert ongoing, police say

 Police are dealing with an ongoing security alert in Strabane.

RUC/PSNI said there was no access to the County Tyrone town via Liskey Road as a result of the incident.

The PSNI warned in a tweet that the alert in Townsend Street was likely to cause some disruption to residents in the area.

Another man arrested in Carrickfergus over SEA UDA murder of loyalist George Gilmore

More on ongoing UDA – SEA UDA feud – And still no charges of belonging to an illegal organistion!!

 A 23-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating the murder of high-profile loyalist George Gilmore.

George GilmoreGeorge Gilmore was shot in the neck in a “ruthless attack in broad daylight” police said

A 32-year-old woman arrested earlier on Sunday has been released.

The PSNI also carried out a search connected to the murder and an ongoing loyalist feud in the Trailcock Road area.

Mr Gilmore, who was 44, was shot in the neck while he was in his car in Cafrrickfergus on Monday afternoon. He died in hospital on Tuesday.

Charged

Two men have appeared in court charged with murdering the high-profile loyalist.

Brian Roy McLean, 35, of The Birches, Carrickfergus, and 28-year-old Samuel David McMaw, of Starbog Road, Kilwaughter, appeared at Laganside Court on Saturday.

They were jointly charged with murdering Mr Gilmore on Monday, the attempted murders of two other people on the same day and possessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

In court, both the accused spoke only to confirm their names and that they understood the charge.

There was no application for bail and both were remanded in custody.