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Orde's PSNI will be judged by both action and inaction

18 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Policing Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has said that Hugh Orde's PSNI will be judged by both their actions and inaction.

Mr Kelly said:

"Hugh Orde is correct when he says that people will judge the PSNI on their action but he must also be aware that the PSNI will be judged by their inaction also.

"We have achieved substantial progress since 1998, but 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 as agreed in the Good Friday Agreement.

"People passed judgement on Hugh Orde's PSNI only six months ago when within the nationalist community Sinn Féin's position was resoundingly endorsed by the electorate. Is it any wonder when the PSNI will aggressively arrest and charge a 14-year-old boy with possession of an offensive weapon when all he is doing is walking down the road with a hurley stick that nationalists still have little confidence in the PSNI.

Perhaps the most critical obstacle to be overcome is the inaction on the transfer of power on Policing and Justice to democratic and accountable structures. Power needs to be wrested from the NIO and intelligence agencies in London and handed over to the accountable institutions of the Assembly, the Executive and the All Ireland institutions.

Other outstanding issues include:

· Plastic bullets need to be withdrawn from use;

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

· PSNI stations and vehicles have not been demilitarised;

· 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 continues to withhold vital inquest evidence on controversial killings involving British state forces;

· The Special Branch has transferred unhindered from the RUC into 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 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;

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

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