Are the PSNI offering the public a good look?

Whose side are the PSNI on? It would be reasonable to assume they are on the side of their employer – to wit, the public. But if we’re to believe recent reports, it would appear that the PSNI are more intent on attacking those representing the public than those opposed to the public.

Latest reports tell us that Peadar Tóibín TD thinks he was targeted by the PSNI:

 “On two occasions when I was talking to a journalist in the north of Ireland the phone calls dropped and immediately after the phone calls dropped a recording of my phone calls…played back to me, which made me believe there was a malfunction of the recording of those phone calls by somebody,”

Is Peadar paranoid? I think not. The PSNI don’t mind getting stuck into those they see as dangerous figures. You’ll remember how they treated some of those gathered to commemorate the five innocent people killed in the Ormeau Road betting shop in 1981. The upshot of this PSNI -commemoration group encounter was that one of those wounded on that day in 1981 was arrested. 

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) proved of little help:

‘PPS assistant director Martin Hardy said: “Having carefully considered the available evidence, the PPS decision was that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the actions of the officers in arresting the civilian, and applying handcuffs to him, were unlawful.’

The actions by the PSNI may not have been unlawful but they certainly didn’t give a good look to our new, prejudice-free police force.

Like justice, the PSNI actions need not only to be lawful but be seen as lawful. Not too many of the people gathered to commemorate those killed in the Ormeau betting shop – not to mention the wider community   – will have been convinced that the police, in arresting a victim, were acting in a reasonable and lawful way. They may have been, but the impression felt by those commemorating and the wider nationalist public is that this gives the PSNI a bad look.

The same could be said of Jeffrey Donaldson’s court appearance yesterday.Sir Jeff may in fact be entirely innocent of the charges against him, but that they have been brought in the first place is not a good look for unionism, particularly since there’ll be many of us   out there tomorrow saying in effect what we think of unionism, both within NEI and beyond.

And that includes the PSNI.


2 Responses to Are the PSNI offering the public a good look?

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