In a challenge brought against the PSNI Chief Constable on behalf of two officers suspended without any due process after Sinn Fein complained about the policing of an Ormeau Road legacy event, counsel submitted that the PSNI had to act against the two officers because they had received “heavy criticism from Sinn Fein” including the then Deputy First Minister.
In an extraordinary submission, Brett Lockhart KC, representing the PSNI, claimed the Chief Constable had defused a situation “which could have gone horribly wrong” and said that resolving the situation which had drawn criticism from Sinn Fein was a matter of “huge public interest”
This has been met with astonishment by both serving and retired rank and file police officers who have expressed incredulity that the PSNI has openly admitted that operational and internal disciplinary procedures are subservient to the need to maintain Sinn Fein support.
There will be many in the unionist and loyalist community aghast at the formal admission as to the extent by which policing in Northern Ireland is influenced by Sinn Fein, who the PSNI has itself stated remains controlled by a proscribed terrorist organisation.
In recent years there has been deep anger about the extent of two tier policing, which was exposed in full glare of the public in relation to the Bobby Storey funeral IRA show of strength, but never before has the PSNI openly admitted- in submissions before the High Court no less- that operational decision making is directly influenced by the need to maintain the confidence of republicans.
This is plainly a matter of the utmost concern which should be raised with the Chief Constable at the policing board. The PSNI should not be allowed to hide behind the claim there is an ‘ongoing case’, because this matter does not require an explanation or engagement with the specific issues of this case, but rather the more serious issues of the admission as to the influence republicans have on operational policing in Northern Ireland.
It is difficult to see how any unionist/loyalist can have any confidence in the PSNI given they have openly accepted that the overriding ‘public interest’ is in maintaining the confidence of the republican movement.
You can read the full court report via the Belfast Telegraph HERE