There is growing anger within the unionist community at the increasing politicisation of the PSNI, including from many former officers who served proudly in the RUC.
Unionist disenchantment with the PSNI has been building for many years, ever since the disgraceful Patton reforms that demolished the RUC, tarnished its legacy and replaced it with a ‘police service’ whose primary purpose was not to solve crime or to keep people safe, but rather to win the support of the IRA and by extension the wider nationalist community.
The IRA- through their surrogates in Sinn Fein- eventually endorsed the PSNI. Let that sink in; the political wing of a terrorist group that murdered and maimed RUC officers, our armed forces and civilians within our community for over 30 years now support the PSNI. What does it tell you about our ‘police service’ when it can win the support and endorsement of those who murdered and maimed its forerunner?
And of course the PSNI corporately endorse the division between the ‘bad’ RUC and the republican endorsed PSNI by virtue of the fact that they have two remembrance gardens- one for the RUC and one for the PSNI. ACC Stephen Martin boasted on social media last week about the separate gardens. Why must there be separate gardens, unless of course it is to try and create clear blue water between the brave RUC and the republican endorsed PSNI?
The PSNI have not only led the witch hunt against former RUC officers and members of our armed forces, but are also increasingly engaged in targeted political harassment against the unionist community and specifically our marching bands, political activists, loyalists and peaceful protestors. Let us never forget the war waged on peaceful unionist bandsmen, the brutalisation and criminalisation of our community during the flag protests and more recently the invasion of east Belfast to tear down bonfires whilst officers celebrated with ‘bye bye bonfire’- all the while masked republicans ran amok.
Let us also look to the so called ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’, a political invention at the heart of the fresh start agreement. Their first big success was seizing entirely legal WW1 UVF memorabilia, which they then broadcast to the media. They followed this up with a relentless stream of dubious house searches and targeting of anyone deemed by former ACC Peter Sheridan’s ‘consortium’ to be politically inconvenient. How many raids have been carried out against the PIRA? I will help you with the answer to that; none.
Rather than pursuing republican criminality, the Chief Constable is a regular panel guest at SF fronted events. It is an almost bi-monthly occurrence that the Chief Constable sits down with Sean ‘Spike’ Murray. What ever happened to their investigation into Mr Murray’s role in the IRA’s peacetime gunrunning? I will help you with the answer to that as well; nothing.
Of course we also have the PSNI’s participation in recent years in the annual St Patricks day New York parade- a parade that carries pro-IRA banners. Are you surprised?
Let us then turn to the persecution of our armed forces. Over 98% of troubles related incidents were carried out by non-state groups, the majority by the Provisional IRA. Despite this the PSNI refuse to investigate all non-fatal incidents- such as IRA bombs that maimed civilians or members of the armed forces- instead only focusing on fatalities. Even at this, 90% of fatalities were caused by non-state groups, again the majority by the Provisional IRA, yet 30% of the PSNI’s caseload focuses on the actions of the state. This is very simple maths- the PSNI’s legacy investigations are imbalanced, partisan and disproportionately targeting the brave men and women that served in defence of our community in the face of a relentless PIRA terrorist onslaught.
Many former RUC officers, and members of the wider unionist and loyalist community, are disgusted and appalled by the partisan political agenda of the PSNI. They are equally disgusted and appalled at the betrayal of all those that served in the RUC, the UDR and British Army in defence of Ulster. One former RUC officer remarked recently, in relation to the PSNI’s own ‘Elliott Ness’- namely ‘task force’ head Bobby Singleton- that when he was in the force they were too busy fighting against a relentless terrorist campaign and checking under their cars or looking over their shoulders for the next IRA gunman, that they had no time to be modelling for the camera with a ‘how you doin?’ slogan.
The RUC fought the IRA and had to endure awful events such as lifting children’s bodies out of the wreckage of the latest terrorist bombing; officers like Mr Singleton brief the media ‘off the record’ and pose for cute pictures as ‘eye candy’. The contrast could not be greater.
We all want a police service that can be supported by the entire community, but such a police service must be bi-partisan, non-political and act within the law. The PSNI do not, at this stage, tick any of those boxes in the minds of many unionists, and indeed many former RUC officers.