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PSNI veto has no place in addressing community safety

25 August, 2004

Newry and Mourne Sinn Féin Council Group Leader, Cllr Terry Hearty has said that Sinn Fein will not be nominating to the local Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) as established by the Northern Ireland Office, because of the in-built PSNI veto over policy direction and project financing.

The Slieve Gullion area Sinn Féin Councillor said that community safety is a concept and strategy which Sinn Féin support, have been at the forefront in addressing for many years republicans, but he added:

"It is clear from the initial rounds of funding and from meetings that Sinn Fein have attended that the PSNI have a veto over projects where they do not have control. Community safety is a much wider issue than policing, involving play facilities, services for the elderly and traffic calming measures. Communities are concerned that the PSNI are going to be allowed to veto projects that have absolutely nothing to do with policing,

"Community safety by its very nature must involve the community at all levels. The strategy that presently is being rolled out by the NIO through the District Councils is a top heavy statutory led one, and ensures that decision-making remains firmly with the statutory bodies.

"It is essential to have joined up thinking and coordinated approaches by statutory agencies as elements of any successful strategy, but the most important aspect of Community safety and it is the forefront of a Republican strategy for any such community safety initiative, is that it be community led and allocates real resources to programmes that work at the coal face.

"Examples of a number of community level initiatives aimed at tackling crime and anti community behaviour that Sinn Féin have been promoting and supporting, such as Community Restorative Justice, Community Watch, Good Morning Galliagh and Good Morning North West.

"Nationalists will not be fooled by the cynical manipulation of fear of crime within communities by the PSNI. What we don't need is Special Branch political interference and manipulation of community initiatives. This is another of the constant attempts by other political parties, such as the SDLP, to impose their flawed decision on policing by introducing the PSNI into communities where there is still no confidence in them." ENDS

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