UUP: Security picture in NI has not changed in six months

Mike Nesbitt MLA
Mike Nesbitt MLA

The Ulster Unionist Party has said that, following a meeting with the Chief Constable, there is “no change” in the paramilitary situation in Northern Ireland.

The UUP had said that their decision on whether or not to re-enter government would be based in part on whether there had been any changes in the authorities’ assessment of the existence of the IRA, or the involvement of its members in violence.

After the meeting, party leader Mike Nesbitt issued a statement.

It read: “The Chief Constable confirmed no change from the assessment given to the Secretary of State last October – PIRA still exists.

“This is not surprising, but disappointing, given PIRA have drawn the roadmap that others are following. George Hamilton would not be drawn on this week`s shootings, but these are serious criminal acts.

“I encourage those who have knowledge of the perpetrators to throw the guns in the streets and the perpetrators behind bars.

“The Chief Constable`s assessment does not make re-entry to the Executive any more attractive, but we have two other tests regarding the Programme for Government to which we expect to have answers in a few short days.”

In the wake of the meeting, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton issued his own statement which read: “The Paramilitary Assessment commissioned by the Secretary of State and published on 20th October 2015 remains valid.

“Over the course of the last seven months, there have been a number of very serious crimes committed in our community.

“Significant PSNI resources have been allocated to progress the investigations into these incidents. This investigative activity nor wider intelligence to date has not indicated any change to the position reflected in the October 2015 Paramilitary Assessment.”