Reality of 999 police response in south Armagh flagged

November 18, 2013

The response from the PSNI to the recent shooting in Cullyhanna has prompted local Councillor Terry Hearty to question whether south Armagh actually has a reasonable emergency police service.

During a meeting of the Police and Community Safety Partnership last Monday, Councillor Hearty took the opportunity to raise issues with policing in the area, with particular reference to the incident where a man was shot in his home.

Insisting that an emergency 999 call is rarely more serious than a person being shot, Councillor Hearty said it is “totally unacceptable” that the police did not visit the victim’s home until the following day.

“This is a disgrace and demonstrates a complete lack of regard for this man and his family,” he said.

“I have queried with the police why this was the case and they have cited the excuse of a dissident threat to explain their no-show at the scene of this violent crime until the following day.  Incidents don’t get any more serious than a member of the community being shot in his own home, so I can’t accept that our police service did not attend the scene immediately.

“The dissident threat in this area is minimal but while I understand that the police perceive a danger, I do not think that this is a satisfactory reason not to investigate a crime.  The fire service and ambulance service attend vastly more dangerous incidents on a routine basis.  Are the police telling us that there is no 999 police response in south Armagh?” he asked.

Councillor Hearty was particularly aggrieved by the fact that the police had indicated to the family that they would visit on the night of the attack, leading one family member not to accompany the victim to the hospital.

“A family member waited in the house for the police to call but they never came.  It is simply not acceptable to change plans like this at such a serious time without notifying people.  This breakdown in communication showed complete disrespect for this family.

“I am highlighting this incident to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  The people of south Armagh deserve a police service that serves the community,” he said.