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Sinn Fein accuse PSNI over policing in Strabane

16 November, 2008

Sinn Féin councillors in Strabane have accused the PSNI of reverting to the worst excesses of the RUC in the area during the 1980's and early 1990's. Sinn Féin Councillors Brian McMahon and Jarlath McNulty say that anger in the town is growing at the 'heavy handed and cavalier' actions of the PSNI over recent days.

Cllr Mc Mahon said,

"At the time of issuing this statement we have an ongoing situation in the Ballycolman area of the town which clearly illustrates this. At around 5pm yesterday the PSNI sealed off an area to the rear of St Colman's Drive stating that they had found an abandoned car, which they believe had been used in a robbery. They ordered local residents to leave their homes and the area remained sealed off for most of the evening.

"The PSNI then left the scene leaving the abandoned car behind and unattended overnight. They then returned in full force this morning and proceeded to seal the area off again and order residents from their homes once again. During this unbelievable two-leg security operation the entire area has been saturated with the PSNI.

"Local people are complaining about the hostile attitude of many of these PSNI personnel towards them as well as complaining about the danger being posed by speeding PSNI jeeps through the area since this all began. I am also receiving complaints from people in other parts of the town about the activities of the PSNI over recent days. This type of policing is totally unacceptable and the question has to be asked as to who has ordered it and why?"

Jarlath McNulty said,

"For over a week now people in the greater Fountain St area have been subject to policing in line with the worst excesses of the RUC during the 1980's and early 1990's. People are being stopped in the street on a regular basis and thoroughly searched with some young people also being forced to remove their shoes by aggressive PSNI members. This was a well-known tactic by the RUC to attempt to humiliate people and it has no place in legitimate policing.

"There is no security justification whatsoever for this over the top behaviour been displayed by the PSNI. This is not investigating crime-this is a form of community punishment and it is up to the powers that be in the PSNI to explain to the people of this area why they are being subject to such 'special treatment'." ENDS

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