The PSNI police in the North of Ireland need extra funds to remove fortification from its bases as part of the planned “normalisation” process, PSNI chief Hugh Orde claimed yesterday.
Although he refused to comment on exactly which stations he had in mind, reports claimed a figure of up to 17 bases could have their armoured facades removed. Mr Orde’s remarks came after a meeting with the SDLP.
At yesterday’s meeting, the nationalist SDLP pressed the Chief Constable to drive forward the demilitarisation process -- a peace commitment under the stalled 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
SDLP Policing Board spokesman Alex Attwood said: “The security situation already justifies this.
“The Chief Constable accepted that there were things the police ‘could do quicker’, this was positive and should mean progress,” he said.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on demilitarisation Tom Reilly MLA has dismissed the remarks.
“It is six years on from the Good Friday Agreement and ten years on from the first IRA cessation. The continuing levels of militarisation and patrolling by the PSNI and British Army are simply not acceptable,” Mr Reilly said.
“In the past the PSNI and British Army have often dressed up their own requirements for rationalisation as a process of demilitarisation. That is the agenda which the Chief Constable and the SDLP are now on again.
“Nationalists and republicans will not accept tinkering with the facades of military bases or the closure of parts of bases as the sort of demilitarisation process that the British committed themselves to six years ago.
“The SDLP are foolish if they believe that providing political cover for this sort of approach to a key Good Friday Agreement commitment will wash with communities still blighted by the ongoing presence of the British war machine in Ireland.”