An Omagh teenager has recorded on his mobile phone an attempt by the PSNI police to persuade him to become an informer.
The young man, a member of Sinn Féin’s youth wing, Ogra Shinn Féin, captured part of the conversation with a member of the PSNI at its Omagh base last Friday afternoon.
On the recording, a PSNI man is heard to ask the teenager to take part in “an intelligence interview”, with the assurance that it is “totally confidential”.
The PSNI man proceeds to say it’s about “illegal activity” in the young man’s area, or the wider area, at which stage the teen is heard to say that he is not interested, and he’s not a tout.
The teen was arrested on St Stephen’s Day for disorderly behaviour, and told to attend the station on Friday to recieve a summons and court date.
At the PSNI base, he said there was a bit of banter by the officers over ‘intelligence’, at which stage he decided to tape the conversation.
It was then that the Constable is heard to refer to the ‘intelligence interview’.
The 18-year-old said he expected that an approach was about to be made to him given the conversation that was developing. After he said he was not interested, the PSNI men said his response would be recorded.
After signing for his charges the young man left the station and went to the Sinn Féin offices.
Barry McColgan, of Ogra Shinn Féin, said, “This young man came into the office when Fr Joe McVeigh was present and he has undertaken to contact the Taoiseach and Sean Woodward and bring the issue up with them.
“We also intend to raise this with the DPP. As long as this behaviour continues then the community can have no confidence in the PSNI. We intend to pursue this as much as we can.”
The teenager has made contact with his lawyer and intends to take the matter to the Police Ombudsman.
Omagh District Council Chairperson Martin McColgan said the PSNI tactics “have in the past only led to distrust and lack of faith in policing especially in Nationalist communities.
“The fact that this young man is well known as a republican activist also raises questions as to why he was approached in this manner.
“I am pleased he had the presence of mind to record the incident and bring it to public attention.”
“This is not the type of policing that people in the north want or are entitled to, this is a system which has been used previously and has failed. Such actions like this incident only serve to undermine public confidence and public support for policing.”