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Sinn Féin Criticise comments made by PSNI head Hugh Orde

6 December, 2004


Ballycastle Sinn Féin representative, Cathal Newcombe, has criticised recent comments made by PSNI head, Hugh Orde, at last weeks opening of the refurbished Ballycastle Police Station.

Mr Newcombe said:

'Last Week the P.S.N.I Chief Constable Hugh Orde officially opened the new police station in Ballycastle. £600,000 was spent manufacturing the station to look more 'user-friendly'. Hugh Orde commented at the opening ceremony, "The work re-enforced the police service's commitment to provide the people of Moyle district with professional, progressive and locally focused policing".

'Mr Orde obviously hasn't spent much time with police personnel in Ballycastle or he would acknowledge that policing in the Moyle District is a disgrace. Each weekend the police observe fights breaking out at the sea-front and around the Diamond area of the town. The police make no attempt to intercept these incidents; instead they watch from the safety of their cars while bystanders often get seriously assaulted or abused and property is quite often damaged.

'They may have spent over £ ∏ million giving Ballycastle police station a makeover, but it is the police structures and attitudes that need the makeover. The police's attitude in Moyle must change. Moyle like many other areas in the Six Counties have not yet seen the benefits of the diluted Patten reforms.

'Just last week Bill Lowry, the man who spearheaded the raid on Sinn Féin offices in Stormont and brought down the Assembly, showed his true colours by joining Ian Paisley on a platform at a DUP fundraiser. Another former RUC man has released a book that uncovers the sectarian sub-culture that permeates throughout every level of the force, thus reinforcing the argument that Sinn Féin has been putting forward for years.

'Police in Moyle must tackle issues such as drugs, burglary, violence, car crime and criminal damage. Sadly, citizens here feel let down when it comes to effective policing, as the PSNI seem more interested in a local charm offensive and spending thousands on publicity campaigns. And no matter what Mr Orde says, I can assure him that Ballycastle police are far from professional, progressive and locally focused.

"When Mr Orde took up his post he assured the public that he would steer clear of making political statements and focus on providing an adequate police service. Instead he has taken every opportunity to criticise republicans and has yet to break his silence on actions like the sinister early-morning raids that the PSNI made on nationalist homes in Ballymena. We're a long way off getting a fair and adequate police service if Mr Orde refuses to stand up to the sectarian sub-culture that has permeated through the police here for so many years. It'll take more than a dab of paint and a fancy police station to convince nationalists that the police have radically changed."ENDS

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