Little has been done to make things more difficult for terrorists

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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The Police Federation yesterday was right to warn about the increased time it would take officers to respond to calls for help from the public if there is a threat of police being murdered.

Mark Lindsay, the federation chair in Northern Ireland, was speaking after a dissident republican attempt to lure PSNI to their deaths in Craigavon.

As he says, officers will now have to been even more careful in their response to calls.

It is important to flag this up, so that when an inevitable chorus of criticism arises at the late responses, the blame lies squarely where it should be — with the republican terrorists.

Mr Lindsay also said that “politicians and community leaders” must realise the consequences of the murder bids.

He called on them to work with police to defeat the criminals, and said they should “up their game considerably”.

That too was apt advice because, as our reports today show, there was swift, cross-party denunciation of the murder attempt. There is always such condemnation.

Dissidents have felt emboldened to try to murder a senior PSNI officer by tracking him to his home in east Belfast. They are trying hard to think of a way to kill a police or prison officer or bomb a public building as you read this paper.

It is little wonder they feel so confident. Conviction rates for murder are very low. If a suspect for a serious offence is arrested and seeks bail, citing a wedding he has to go on or perhaps just a holiday, it will probably be granted.

Even a conviction for a sub murder terror offence conviction might lead to a soft sentence.

It is alarming that very little is said about the fact that terrorists are finding things so comfortable.

A stronger UK government would not allow Stormont to agonise over adopting a tougher approach, as it surely would it was sitting, and would introduce direct rule, and impose major security reforms, including much harsher bail and sentencing guidelines.