Concerns over ‘political policing’ leads to walk out at Newry PCSP meeting
On Monday night the Policing and Community Safety Partnership meeting in Newry and Mourne District Council witnessed a walkout by the Sinn Féin delegates over the PSNI handling of the arrest of Seán Hughes and the search of his family home.
Speaking to Newry Times, Chair of the PCSP, Councillor Mickey Ruane said, “As members of the Policing Committee we have a responsibility to build trust and confidence between our community and the PSNI.
“We have been working hard on this project since 2007 and much progress has been made to date, particularly with PSNI officers who want to see change and provide a proper policing service for all of the community.
“However, much of this good work has been totally undermined by a number of recent events in the Newry and Mourne area.
“These incidents have, on numerous occasions, been brought to the attention of the PSNI Area Commander by members of the PCSP.
Ruane continued, “The decision to arrest Seán Hughes on dubious grounds was nothing short of political policing. To search his family home and confiscate his children’s mobile phones and computers was ill advised and needless.
“As PCSP members we require clarity from the Area Commander of the PSNI with reference to the Community Impact Statement. Whose decision was it to arrest Mr Hughes? Whose decision was it to search his home in such a manner?”
“The date on the search warrant was the 8th of January, yet the PSNI did not discharge it until the 27th Feb. What was the rationale for waiting for almost two months?”
Ruane added, “The conduct of the PSNI at senior level is unacceptable. It exudes memories of how the rule of law was subverted by state forces in the past.
“This undermines the credibility of PCSP members and as an expression of our concern we feel it is necessary to publicly make a stand and demand off the PSNI answers to the questions, we and the community, feel must be answered.”
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