Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Resistance to change in policing must be overcome

11 March, 2004

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in Belfast this morning on the eve of a visit to the USA, where he will be attending a series of engagements, including events in Washington on March 17th,said that he expects the US government will strongly row in behind the British and Irish governments on the issue of policing.

Mr Adams said: 'We can expect the US administration to follow the Dublin and London line on the current policing arrangements. I disagree with that line, as do the majority of nationalists in the north.

It has to be remembered that during the worst years of collusion, torture and human rights abuses these governments actively defended and praised the RUC, authorised co-operation with it and urged nationalists to join it.

People have a right to a first class policing service. This does not exist at this time.

Sinn Féin will continue to work towards an acceptable, accountable police service and I will lobby in the US for support for a policing policy in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

To achieve this, to achieve the new beginning to policing promised by the Agreement six years ago, resistance to change has to be overcome.'

Mr. Adams revealed that Sinn Féin has raised a series of major problems on policing with the British and Irish governments in recent weeks. He said Œthese problems need to be solved if nationalists and republicans are to endorse policing.‚

Mr. Adams said:

"Six years on from the Good Friday Agreement we are still some distance from achieving a democratically accountable and representative, civic policing service which is free from partisan political control. While we have made considerable progress in the negotiations of recent years we have also seen a failure on the part of the British government to implement what has been agreed and increased resistance to change from within the PSNI, particularly the Special Branch.

"One thing is clear we do not have a new beginning to policing and the following are the main obstacles to that being achieved:-

British securocrats still control policing

Partisan political control of policing remains intact - British securocrats still retain ultimate control of policing and justice through the NIO, the British Secretary of State and PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde. We need to see the transfer of powers on policing and justice to the Assembly.

PSNI remains unrepresentative

The PSNI remains unrepresentative of the community it polices and is unacceptable to nationalists. The British government has yet to produce a coherent strategy for ensuring representation of nationalists and republicans.

Military policing and repressive legislation continues

Plastic bullets need to be withdrawn from use. They are lethal weapons which have been used indiscriminately and which have killed children.

Repressive legislation continues to be used by the PSNI, as it was by the RUC

PSNI stations and vehicles have not been demilitarised. They still patrol from heavily armed, military fortresses in nationalist areas.

Human Rights Abusers transferred en masse to PSNI

Key positions in the PSNI are held by human rights abusers involved in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries to kill citizens.

Ongoing interference and opposition to inquiries and inquests

The PSNI Chief Constable and senior members of the Policing Board ˆ Des Rea, Chair, and Denis Bradley, Deputy Chair ˆ are opposed to inquiries, which would see human rights abusers exposed.

The PSNI Chief Constable continues to withhold vital inquest evidence on controversial killings involving British state forces ˆ this interference has led to the inquest of Roseann Mallon and nine other people from Tyrone being aborted on more than 12 occasions, most recently due to interference by Huge Orde

Special Branch remain intact and are destabilizing peace process

The Special Branch has transferred unhindered from the RUC into the PSNI. These political policing detectives are a de facto cartel inside the PSNI

Political destabilisation at key points in the peace process, has been effected by the police Special Branch, which has been at the centre of politically damaging leaks and briefings to the media or actions by PSNI

The families of a number of Protestants killed recently by loyalist paramilitaries have publicly stated that Special Branch agents were involved in the killings and have been given immunity.

DPP failing to act

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), a branch of the failed status quo in policing and justice, continues to prevent prosecutions against human rights abusers in the PSNI

The DPP and Special Branch continue to interfere with forensic evidence and the activities of the Forensic Science Agency, particularly in politically motivated prosecutions

Policing Board not holding PSNI to account

The Policing Board has failed to use its own powers to instigate an inquiry. The Policing Board is failing to fulfil its primary function ˆ to hold members of the PSNI fully to account

"Sinn Féin is still working to achieve a new beginning to policing and we have raised these very important matters to progress on policing with the British and Irish governments in recent weeks. Resistance to change has to be overcome and these problems need to be solved if nationalists and republicans are to endorse policing."ENDS

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