Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Brady condemns ‘conflict approach’ to policing in South Armagh

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady has expressed his disappointment at what he describes as the PSNI’s “conflict approach” to policing in south Armagh.  Speaking after he and Sinn Fein colleague Conor Murphy held a “frank and forthright” meeting with PSNI officials last week, Mr Brady highlighted a recent incident in the area in which a car was run off the road by PSNI officers without warning.

The Sinn Fein MP said the incident was one of several over the last number of years that exacerbated the “palpable sense of frustration in the community at the PSNI’s perceived inability or unwillingness to tackle existing crime and criminal gangs yet at the same time descending on others in a heavy handed, almost military fashion.”

“In other parts of the north similar investigations are pursued with a phone call and a request for the individual to attend their local police station. But there seems to be an attitude that in south Armagh you adopt a reckless, amped-up gung-ho approach,” he added.

“Attitudes like this achieve nothing.

“When people see huge numbers of officers raiding homes but they can’t get a police officer out to a robbery it damages confidence.

“Sinn Féin has been working hard for the past ten years to deliver an effective, accountable policing service. While much great work has been done to move towards inclusive community policing, incidents such as these could set those relationships back.

“We were very direct about the need for the PSNI to police with the community, not police the community.  Communities in south Armagh want and deserve a police service they can count on; they have moved on from the past, it’s long past time elements within the PSNI did the same.”