A GAFFE by police officers who mistakenly raided the home of a Sinn Fein mayor should not lead to the police adopting a cautious approach to tackling dissident republicans, a DUP MP has said.
Derry City Council mayor Kevin Campbell had his home searched by the police on July 13 as part of a police operation which uncovered weapons at other locations in Londonderry.
However, on Monday, senior PSNI officers apologised in person to the mayor and his wife before issuing a public statement of apology which said that the operation should not have targeted the Sinn Fein man’s Creggan home.
Mr Campbell welcomed the apology, an action by the PSNI which he said was “imperative if we are to rebuild public confidence and continue to develop accountable and transparent policing in our community”.
However, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell — who at the time of the raids said that the PSNI should apologise if they had searched the mayor’s home in error — said that the incident must not distract the PSNI from taking on dissident republicans in the area.
“Whilst a mistake was made in the search operation of the mayor’s home this must not mean there is a reduction of focus by the police on dissident republicans,” the DUP MP and MLA said.
“It is vital that any weapons held by these groups are recovered and all those involved are brought to justice.”
Mr Campbell claimed that there had been an “overemphasis” by the media on the PSNI’s apology for raiding the home of the city’s mayor.
The DUP man said the focus should instead be on the weapons which were uncovered earlier in the same search operation at other locations.
Mr Campbell added: “I have written to the Chief Constable in the aftermath of the search asking for progress on the operation against dissident republicans in the wider Londonderry area and the testing of those weapons recovered to establish whether they have been used in previous terrorist activity.
“I await the Chief Constable’s response.”