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Inquest demonstrates canteen culture within PSNI

23 November, 2004

West Belfast Assembly member Michael Ferguson has said that revelations yesterday at the inquest into the death of PSNI Constable George McKee that he was drunk immediately after ending the night shift in Andersonstown barracks raises serious questions for the PSNI and their political backers.

Mr Ferguson said:

" Yesterday at an inquest into the death of Andersonstown barracks based PSNI member George McKee it was revealed that he was drunk when he crashed into another car in Donaghadee immediately after leaving the night shift in the West Belfast base.

" Sinn Féin have long been highlighting the canteen culture which exists within the PSNI. Local people familiar with drunken on duty PSNI members will not be surprised at the revelations at yesterday's inquest.

" However the entire episode does raise very serious issues for the PSNI and their political backers. Is alcohol freely available within their barracks? Is it normal practice to drink on duty? Is it normal practice to allow PSNI members who have consumed alcohol while working to drive home in this case through heavily populated areas in West Belfast?

" This sort of canteen culture can have no part in an acceptable and accountable policing service and must be ended and ended for good if we are to see a new community based policing service delivered." ENDS

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