Baggott’s Crossmaglen visit ‘not a true picture’ of policing: Federation

June 1, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

The body that represents rank and file police officers says last month’s visit to Crossmaglen by PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott is “not a true picture of what is happening on the ground” in relation to policing in the North.

Mr Baggott’s visit was described as a fact-finding mission and, according to him, his way of ‘saying thank you’ to the people of the area.  However, the Police Federation described it as an attempt by Mr Baggott “to assure the general public that the rule of law ran freely throughout Northern Ireland”.

In its monthly report, Police Beat, the Federation criticised the visit saying it was an attempt to assure the public that south Armagh is not a lawless area.  However, the Federation added: “If your visit requires helicopter cover and a couple of dozen extra police officers for protection then the claim can be made. But that is not a true picture of what is happening on the ground.”

It’s believed that helicopter cover and more than 20 extra officers were drafted in to protect the Chief Constable during the visit.

In light of recent dissident attacks on police stations and officers, the Federation has called on Justice Minister David Ford to launch a review of the security situation.

“The dissidents may be pulling ‘stunts’ but we need to respond with a policy which is a lot more robust than with perceived stunts of our own,” it said.