Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Acceptable policing - democratic accountability and an end to partisan political control

21 April, 2004


. I believe that for the first time in history the potential exists to utterly change the unionist, paramilitary and sectarian character of policing in the North. We clearly have not yet reached that point but nevertheless significant advances have been made incrementally since the negotiations of 1998. I acknowledge that progress, but, serious and central issues remain to be resolved if the new beginning is to be achieved. These include;

The continuing partisan political control of policing;

The continuing existence of the structures which implemented the policy of collusion between various British Government agencies and loyalist paramilitary organisations;

The need for a public independent international inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane;

The need to remove from the PSNI former members of the RUC, including the Special Branch, who were involved in state killings of citizens and responsiact. It sent shock waves through the political process, with wild but unfounded allegations of an IRA spy-ring, and led to the suspension of the political institutions. At other particularly sensitive times we have seen statements, briefing and leaks about republicans which have armed opponents of the peace process and which have proven, when challenged, to have been unfounded.

The enthusiasm with which the police service pursues and identifies republicans is in stark contrast to the approach to loyalist attacks. There have been literally hundreds of gun and bomb attacks carried out by loyalists in the last few years with few arrests and even less publicity. The PSNI, for example, have still not said who they believe was responsible for the brutal sectarian murder of James McMahon last November despite knowing the identities of the UDA members involved. None of these people have been questioned, arrested or charged.

So we have not yet achieved a new beginning.

In fact, as a result of the investigation into collusion, by senior British police officer, John Stevens, cases were prepared against 20 police officers and British soldiers alleged to have colluded in the murder of nationalists. As part of the investigation team Hugh Orde knows the identities of these people. Some of them may now hold senior positions in the PSNI and the British Army. 14 months later, none of these 20 has been brought before the courts. What message does this send to the victims of collusion, their families and their communities? How do we respond to the families of those killed when they point out that, having investigated these crimes, Hugh Orde is now prepared to accept the presence of the perpetrators in his organisation?"ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin