Thursday, December 14, 2006

A BIg start

I'm delighted to see Gerry Adams & Co are going to meet the PSNI Chief Constable to discuss policing. This is a good move in the right direction. Also, an interesting comment from Adams: "We will also raise political policing and the need for clear proof that this has ended or will end, an end to plastic bullets and Sinn Fein is committed to law and order and proper and effective policing". Did you get that last bit? Nothing more, and nothing less, than the DUP is requiring to enable power-sharing.

Regulars here know I berate Sinn Féin for not taking their seats on the Local Policing Boards, thus denying their electorate a say in how policing is run. Gerry had encouraging words on that too: "Consequently, we are determined to ensure that the police service operates under the highest standards and is held to account through the most rigorous and efficient accountable and transparent mechanisms and we will also discuss collusion".

Both parts of this statement - the beginning of the first part and the end of the second - acknowledge feelings held deep within the Republican movement, and I think that's fair enough too, even though my personal view is that the issue of political policing is, in the main, a straw issue.

But maybe I, and you, need to keep an open mind.


At 10:17 p.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

A straw issue?

Live in a Republican area for a while and you will see for yourself.

At 11:38 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that I have to make a comment on this term of political policing. The PSNI was born out of a desire to have a non politically influenced police service. Having served in the RUC for 24 years in which I have to say political influence was not a subject which seemed to be seen from the shop floor, I made the somewhat painful transition into the PSNI we waited in trepidation to meet our new PSNI colleagues who had been recruited into the service on the 50:50 policy and we heard all the rumours about their political comments and aspirations. However when they arrived they were the same as the rest of us they joined the police to make a contribution to a safer society. Unfortunately the same could not be said of the service itself. Political influence was right on the shop floor on a daily basis. Want to mount an operation in a certain area to catch car criminals or burglars get the OK from civil reps first who were these people of course members of the various political organisations that had held a grip on the areas for years and in some cases paramilitaries. Even our new police colleagues could not believe what was happening. On daily basis the Unionist and Republican politicians paraded on TV and newspapers their contributions to the police service how they would hold the service to book etc. From day 1 it became the most politically controlled police service in Europe, how because the policing board made up of members of political parties and some appointed person replaced a police authority of appointed people. So if Mr Adams, Mr Kelly (who could be the new justice minister) really want an end to political policing then they must remove the politicians from policing decisions. Will this happen not in my life time and maybe not in the next generation but happen it must. Surveys have shown that the communities feel they are not policed properly the elderly live in fear, I am aware that police numbers had to be cut in line with the improving political situation, however a vacuum has been caused which has allowed criminals from all of Ireland and further a field to exploit the reduction of police numbers. There is an awareness that with fewer police patrols then the less chance of capture by stumbling into a police patrol or them stumbling across you ( because that’s how most criminals are caught). Look at the incidents involving the old or other vulnerable persons only a day or two ago one village witnessed a spate of such crimes why? Station closed patrols centralised to main stations to boast numbers less patrols in the rural areas as they answer the calls in mains towns and cities. I could go on, what for me I had enough and said my goodbyes to the PSNI and wished my colleagues old and new good luck in their future careers. I made no bold gesture of defiance or moral stand at the way policing had turned I took Patton and got my pension because I was lucky, luckier than those I left.

At 12:17 p.m., Blogger B.U. said...

Thanks, Anon.

At 11:18 p.m., Anonymous parsnips said...

would love to see you more on Balrog; you're the kindest unionist I've ever had the pleasure of coming across.
Lots been happening re policing.
Happy New Year


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