26 February 2009 Edition
Honest, transparent policing needed
Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2009BY LAURA FRIEL
THE Ard Fheis saw a comprehensive Ard Chomhairle motion 18 on policing and community safety.
Alex Maskey MLA said that Sinn Féin’s decision to support new policing structures in the North did not and does not bridge the gap of suspicion that has grown up over many years between policing and citizens, particularly within the nationalist and republican community.
“In fact, Sinn Féin’s decision created an unprecedented opportunity for the PSNI on all levels to prove to this community that it deserved support and it can deliver an effective community-based service,” Maskey said.
“The nationalist experience of policing in the past has been unacceptable. We only have to look at the inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill to see that.’ The failure to move on the Pat Finucane case and the ongoing withholding of information to the inquests into a number of killings including that of young Pearse Jordan were also highlighted.
Alex Maskey said that he hears day and daily what people on the ground in the North want and need from a police service.
“If you’re a victim of crime you want to hear the chief constable talking about strategies to prevent crime, you want to hear him talk about delivering to communities and policies that will make a difference to attacks on our elderly, the misuse of drugs, road traffic incidents and other matters but too often we get excuses.
“Communities aren’t stupid. They understand the conditions within which policing operates but they don’t want excuses. They want honesty, transparency and policies that will make a real difference now and in the future.
“Sinn Féin will not be deflected from the policing challenges we have set ourselves and we have proven by our efforts over the last few years our determination to work in partnership with the community and the PSNI to deliver the Good Friday Agreement vision of policing.”
Motion 18 was endorsed by the Ard Fheis.