Anti-terror police search Willie Frazer

Willie Frazer
Willie Frazer

VICTIMS’ campaigner Willie Frazer has expressed outrage after he was stopped and searched by police in south Armagh under anti-terror laws.

Mr Frazer said seven members of the PSNI’s tactical support group dressed in boiler suits surrounded his car “in frightening circumstances” near Kingsmills. He said he will be reporting the incident to his solicitor and lodging a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

“I am not a terrorist, I have no time for terrorists – republican or loyalist. I am very angry that the police held me under anti-terror laws,” he said.

“In Northern Ireland, that is an extremely dangerous thing to do to a public figure like myself. It could well place my life in jeopardy.”

The director of the victims’ group, FAIR, said that unknown to the police he had taped the encounter with the officers on his mobile phone.

Mr Frazer said he was driving on Saturday afternoon to the Kingsmills massacre monument, which is being refurbished, when his vehicle was forced to stop by two unmarked cars.

He said: “One car pulled in front of mine and another behind forcing me to stop. Men in boiler suits jumped out. At first, I thought they were republicans until they told me they were police.

“They made me get out of the car and searched me thoroughly. They even took my wallet off me for examination. They searched the inside of the car twice.

“I don’t know what they thought they were looking for but the only thing they found were banners for a demonstration. They questioned me about where I was coming from and going to but I refused to answer.”

Mr Frazer said nationalist drivers passing by were laughing as he was detained at the side of the road.

“I continually questioned the officers as to why they were holding me but they provided no explanation,” he said.

The controversial victims’ campaigner, who is suffering from cancer, told police he had just that morning received treatment in Craigavon Area Hospital. “It made no difference,” he added.

Mr Frazer, who had five members of his family murdered during the Troubles, said he was stopped by police just yards from where his uncle, Clifford Lundy, was shot dead by the IRA in 1981.

“I am not letting this go,” he said. “I will be talking legal action through my solicitor and lodging a case with the Police Ombudsman.”

When asked about Mr Frazer’s detention, a PSNI spokesman said: “Police stopped and searched a car on the Drumnahunshin Road area of Whitecross shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday.

“Nothing untoward was found during the search and the occupant was able to continue with their journey.

“Anyone who has a complaint to make about the conduct of a police officer can contact the Police Ombudsman.”

Mr Frazer said he had photographed the police cars blocking in his vehicle but that the officers had seen this and had taken his camera from him and deleted the images.

Last year, a total of 45,394 people were stopped, searched and questioned by the PSNI. Republicans regularly complain about the procedure.

The Terrorism Act 2000 states that police can stop and search a vehicle if they reasonably suspect it is being used for the purposes of terrorism or the driver of the vehicle is engaged in commissioning, preparing or instigating acts of terrorism.