Sinn Fein holds “constructive” meeting with new PSNI chief

August 11, 2014

A recent meeting between the PSNI’s new Commander with responsibility for the local area and a Sinn Fein delegation was the first of “regular-type engagements”, Declan Murphy, a spokesperson for the group, has said.

The party delegation, which included elected representatives from the Newry & Armagh and Louth constituencies, along with senior party activists, met with E District Policing Commander, Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields, and described the encounter as “frank, worthwhile and constructive”.

Mr Murphy says Sinn Fein promotes a civic, accountable all–Ireland policing and criminal justice agenda and is committed to tackling crime and making communities safe.

“There have been huge concerns throughout the area in relation to what we described at the meeting as incidents of heavy handed, militarised approaches by the PSNI, to what could only be described as sensitive issues, for example up to six armoured land rovers arriving at the scene of an accident involving a young child.  We made it clear that there must be a balance between the PSNI ensuring their own protection whilst delivering appropriate responses to the community,” he said.

The issue of Policing Community Partnerships in developing the concept of policing through engagement with the wider community was also discussed.

Pledging to hold the PSNI to account, he said: “Our initial meeting with DC Shields was frank, worthwhile and constructive. Sinn Féin continues to support policing and is committed to developing the concept of policing with the community. We want a police service, not a police force.  We will confront bad policing where warranted and likewise commend where it is deserved.  The public expects this from us. Where proper policing is not delivered then it needs challenged and changed for the better.”