Aontú Cllr for Derry, Emmet Doyle, and Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD have welcomed the extension by the Oireachtas Good Friday Committee of an invite the Chief Constable of the PSNI to testify before the Committee, on foot of a request by Aontú.
Cllr Emmet Doyle: “It is very welcome development that the Oireachtas Good Friday Committee yesterday sent the request to the Chief Constable of the PSNI to testify on policing in the North. There needs to comprehensive reviews of policing in the North by the PSNI as was done in South Armagh. I hope that the PSNI Chief will agree to testify, and so the issue of policing in the North can be examined in depth and in public. I have been consistently highlighting the failure of the PSNI locally to engage in community policing and instead focus on the militaristic ‘security’ policing that has produced scenes of chaos in communities during police operations in recent months. Communities of all colour and creed have little confidence in the PSNI in our city – demonstrated their inability to address drug crime in the district, their focus on house searches and utilizing draconian stop and search legislation. Only recently, disturbing footage emerged of a PSNI officer restraining a man by the throat on the ground and punching him. That officer has remained on duty, despite extensive complaints and calls for an investigation. Things need to change.”
An Teachta Tóibín: “Policing remains a hugely divisive issue in the North and it is important that there is oversight over the PSNI. It is an important step and sign of solidarity with nationalist communities in the north, that the Oireachtas Good Friday Committee agreed to my request for the PSNI Chief to come before the Committee. We need a complete root and branch reform of policing in the north of Ireland. The Nationalist community in the north of Ireland were promised a new beginning in policing. We were promised an impartial, unbiased, independent, and fair policing service which would attract and sustain the support from the whole community. That has not happened. The Patten Report was published 22 years ago and has yet to be implemented in full. The police are not representative of the people they police and have failed to establish their trust as can be seen in the single most important measure – recruitment. Currently, only 31% of PSNI members are Catholics and there are reports of difficulties in retaining Catholic recruits. Questioning the PSNI Chief would offer an invaluable opportunity to begin examining the foundational issues plaguing policing in the North.”