UUP councillor: South Armagh policing report indulges republican demands

A letter from Councillor David Taylor:

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 12:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 12:26 pm
Simon Byrne unveils a report that UUP councillor David Taylor says is "very political in nature"

I am very disappointed that the South Armagh Policing Review doesn’t reflect the concerns expressed by my colleagues and I when we were invited by the PSNI to discuss policing in the South Armagh area.

It is clear that some of the recommendations included within the report are very political in nature and can only be described as a clear attempt to indulge demands made by republican and nationalist representatives which offer no strategic benefit to improving the quality of the policing service in the local area.

There are a number of proposals which I find completely unacceptable within the document and I am particularly angry at the recommendation relating to memorials.

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The Ulster Unionist Party will not support any suggestion which disrespects the sacrifice offered by those brave police officers who laid down their lives as they served the community.

The chief constable must also provide detailed clarification in respect of the reference to ‘joint policing’ with the Garda and what this actually entails.

I certainly have no issue with co-operation between police services on both sides of the border as they seek to combat crime. It would appear however that there is an attempt to go far beyond the parameters of what would be deemed normal or acceptable in terms of co-operation between policing services from different jurisdictions.

There is obviously a need for improved police station facilities in South Armagh and in principle, the Ulster Unionist Party supports the creation of a new station, but the stations at Crossmaglen and Newtownhamilton must remain operational until such times as that is achieved.

The major problems with organised crime in the South Armagh area cannot be ignored and the public must be assured that police are able to deliver an effective service on the ground.

The recommendations therefore must not compromise the safety and operational ability of police officers serving in South Armagh.

The Ulster Unionist Party will be undertaking further engagement with senior Police Command on the proposals included within the South Armagh Policing Review.

We will outline very clearly our concerns and opinions on the details included in this report and seek to prevent where necessary those recommendations we find completely unacceptable.

David Taylor, Ulster Unionist councillor, South Armagh

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