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SDLP attempting to stop further Policing change

21 October, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing issues Gerry Kelly has accused the SDLP of "being part of a new policing establishment opposing necessary progressive changes to the current arrangements". Mr Kelly's remarks come after the SDLP and Policing Board launched another attack on Community Restorative Justice Programmes.

Mr Kelly said:

"Community Restorative Justice does not pretend to be an alternative to an acceptable and accountable policing service. Such projects are additional to a policing service and are now common place across the world. Indeed the Oversight Commissioner has praised the work of the schemes currently operating here.

"The SDLP's opposition to Community Restorative Justice has nothing at all to do with these schemes or the way they operate. It is built upon a need to prevent further necessary policing changes to justify their flawed decision to jump too early onto policing. The SDLP have in effect become part of a new policing establishment determined to prevent the sort of changes necessary to deliver Patten and deliver an accountable policing service.

"When the SDLP joined the Policing Board they claimed that they would work for further changes from within. In effect they are doing exactly the opposite. They are on one hand trying to prevent further change while on the other supporting the sort of political policing which sees the PSNI deem the anti Catholic campaign in North Antrim as neighbourly disputes or fails to act when former Special Branchman Eric Anderson admits on television to the theft of files in order to frustrate the work of the Police Ombudsman's office.

"If the SDLP want to have a genuine debate on Community Restorative Justice then lets have it. But they should stop attacking what is regarded as a progressive and valued community facility in an attempt to justify their own flawed position on policing." ENDS

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