22 May 2003 Edition

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Sinn Féin picket inaugural meeting of Strabane DPP

Strabane Councillor Danny Breslin was among a group of 80 Sinn Féin members who picketed the inaugural meeting of the Strabane District Policing Partnership on Thursday night, 15 May.

Speaking after the picket, Cllr Breslin said:

"The picket, which was conducted in a highly dignified manner, was organised to highlight the continued partisan political nature of the PSNI and the continued control Special Branch, MI5 and their political masters in the establishment have over the activities of this force.

"Events of recent weeks have only served to reinforce the reality in regards to the malign control these 'spooks' have over policing.

"Unlike others, Sinn Féin will not buy into a body that attempts to create the illusion of local accountability on policing, when patently none exists. The GFA promised policing that would be democratically accountable, yet the District Policing Partnership has absolutely no power to hold the local District Commander to account.

"In fact the present proposed role of the District Policing Partnership Board differs little from the old Police Liaison Committee. Like its predecessor, the District Policing Partnership is only mandated to act to act in a consultative capacity. It does not even possess the power to make recommendations. Opinions of Board members can be totally ignored by the District Commander on the grounds that they are operational matters. As such, the District Policing Partnerships are little more than 'toothless tigers' - expensive talking shops, for which, increasingly, ratepayers will be expected to foot the bill.

"Sinn Féin and the majority of the nationalist electorate who vote for our party demand a new policing service that we can have faith in and give allegiance to. The failure to address fundamental issues stands in the way of a genuinely new beginning to policing and Sinn Féin will not buy into a policing setup that attempts to create the illusion of change while failing to address these core issues."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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