Bradley to meet PSNI regarding police delays

April 17, 2012

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley has said he is hoping to meet with senior PSNI officers this week to address the concerns of residents who were left to marshal traffic themselves when a suspect device was loaded onto a hijacked taxi last Easter Saturday.

Local residents slammed the police for taking over an hour to respond to the alert, leaving the local community to effectively secure the area and manage traffic away from the area themselves, in the absence of a police presence.

Mr Bradley said: “First of all, we need to put the blame for this incident firmly on those responsible for hijacking the taxi and loading a hoax device onto it.

“This is a course of action totally at odds with the desire of people in Newry and the surrounding district to move forward peacefully.

“Having said that, I believe that it is totally unacceptable that residents had to wait about an hour and a half for police to arrive and take charge of the scene.

“We had a situation only a year ago where a van with a bomb on board was abandoned and members of the public on the road where it was left drove past it for hours before the police arrived.

“I raised the matter with the police at the time and I would have expected that, by now, they would have developed an operational plan for dealing with such incidents with much greater promptness.

“Clearly that has not happened as this latest incident illustrates.

“I have already raised the matter with the police and will be meeting with senior officers to relay to them the concerns of residents and urge them to develop systems which will mean such incidents are dealt with a much greater speed of response.

“I would, however, once again, commend the courage and initiative of those residents who marshalled traffic away from the device on the night and urge anyone with further information to come forward to the authorities.”

Meanwhile police responded to claims of delayed action, maintaining their response began immediately and that planning and assessing the situation was necessary to ensure the safety of local people and the PSNI.

Chief Inspector, Anthony McNally, said the PSNI had a responsibility to “protect and preserve life” which meant that some situations were dealt with “cautiously” as there was “a significant threat from a small number of people who have shown their determination to kill police officers.”