Alliance Party urge police to take tougher stance on paramilitaries

The Alliance Party want to see the unregulated flying of flags on public property tackled
The Alliance Party want to see the unregulated flying of flags on public property tackled

The Alliance Party has urged police to take further steps to tackle paramilitaries who are in ‘control’ of certain communities in the Province.

An Alliance Party delegation met with the Chief Constable this afternoon to discuss a range of policing issues, including resources, the implications of Brexit, and tackling paramilitarism.

Speaking after the meeting, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry – who led the delegation – said: “This was a wide-ranging discussion. It is important that political parties continue to engage with policing, particularly in the context of the Policing Board not being able to function.

“We relayed our concerns at the impact of the ongoing political impasse on policing, with uncertainty over funding and the commitment of specialist pots of funding. This deadlock clearly restricts the ability to maximise the use of scarce resources and their scope to prevent and detect crime and to keep the public safe.

“We also explored the threats to policing and criminal justice co-operation on a cross-border basis from Brexit. There are issues regarding the continuity of the European Arrest Warrant and extradition and the sharing of information. Security threats arising from any physical border on the island may in turn create fresh resourcing pressures. It is clear that policing and justice issues need to be given a much greater level of attention in political and intergovernmental discussions than has been the case to date.

“In particular, we had detailed discussions regarding the ongoing problems of paramilitarism and the associated control of certain communities across Northern Ireland, and the perceived impunity under which paramilitaries operate. We explored what further steps could be taken to address problems with bonfires and the unregulated erection of flags on public property.

“We urged the police to fully exercise their existing powers in enforcing the law while recognising that there must be a stronger political commitment to tackling paramilitarism, including an improved Executive strategy, and stronger inter-agency co-operation.”

The meeting between the Alliance Party and the Chief Constable comes a week after Mr Hamilton met a Sinn Fein team headed by Michelle O’Neill.

DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson described the meeting at which discussion points included “ongoing UDA activity” and “systemic failings on behalf of the PSNI in relation to collusion” around the activities of the Glenanne Gang, a UVF unit blamed for around 130 murders.