Thursday, January 06, 2005

PSNI 'gone fishing' for the usuals

Brian Feeney on the PSNI raids in indigenous Irish Catholic areas:

It's quite clear the police had no information or evidence whatsoever to justify their raids which they inflicted on homes and commercial premises as a crude fishing exercise. Throw out a grappling hook, drag it in and you never know what you might find on the end of it: a pot of gold, a packet of Northern Bank tenners or an oul' boot. In this case 16 pairs of boots, though new ones.

Plus ca change. There has never been a similar exercise in loyalist districts since the seventies and even then it was the British army who did the dirty work. At the height of the loyalist feud in 2000 the police seemed content to stand by as the UDA drove hundreds out of the lower Shankill and UVF and UDA gunmen, all known to the police, prowled the streets at will. It's OK however to raid 'known republicans'. Makes dramatic TV. Sure they're only republicans. Doesn't matter about the consequences. Sure nobody in the district supports the PSNI anyway. Who cares?

Well, the sort of PSNI tactics witnessed over the Christmas break aren't going to win over anybody in those districts. On the contrary: they will confirm people in their view that the PSNI's attitudes are no different from those of the RUC. The PSNI has a lot of work to do in this respect and they're not making much progress at it. All you have to do is read the oversight commissioner's latest report. It's available at He finds a lot to be desired.


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