Policing with the community needs to be the core function of any civic policing service
Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy speaking after today's meeting with the PSNI has said that it is essential that communities get the policing service that they are entitled to.
Mr Murphy was accompanied by his colleagues Newry and Mourne Councillors Terry Hearty (Slieve Gullion), Patrick Mc Donald (Slieve Gullion) and Jimmy Mc Creesh (Fews)
Describing the meeting as forthright but cordial Mr Murphy said:
"It is essential that communities get the policing service that they are entitled to. The experience for many of policing in this area has been one of heavy handedness, political, sectarian and partisan.
"Sinn Fein are serious about our commitment to achieving an accountable and acceptable policing service.
"Policing with the community needs to be the core function of any civic policing service and we want to ensure that will happen. Today is another step along that road.
"Sinn Féin want to see the local community and criminal justice agencies, especially the PSNI, working together to ensure that people can live in peace and safety, free from intimidation, threat or violence."
The delegation had tabled a number of questions to the PSNI in relation to concerns raised by communities in the Crossmaglen and the south Armagh area.
Mr Murphy continued:
"Local people have genuine concerns about the policing response to date in tackling anti-social violence and criminality in this area. We explained to those Officers in attendance, that communities felt that PSNI neither had the commitment nor the willingness to deal with anti social violence and criminality in their areas. Many see the PSNI as being indifferent to their plight. There is a feeling of abandonment.
"People feel that many of those engaged in the worst types of anti social behaviour and criminality regarded themselves as 'untouchables' as far as the police are concerned. Those engaged in particular in the growing number of house robberies seem to be able to travel freely throughout the area with impunity."
Mr Murphy also confirmed that he would be attending another Public Meeting in Crossmaglen next Wednesday, August 1st, facilitated by the local Community Safety Group, where he will update the local community with details of his meeting with the PSNI.