A media blitz by the PSNI police to improve its image among nationalists in the north of Ireland is being challenged by republican activists.
The PSNI has over the past 24 hours engaged in a high-cost propaganda campaign using social networks to promote an image of the force as providing a community policing service.
Over the past 24 hours, its publicity staff have posted almost every policing action by the force in the North to the internet, accompanied by the message ‘Keeping People Safe’.
However, the force’s operations remain the subject of intense criticism. Just this week it was revealed in court proceedings that the force has recently engaged in secret surveillance operations inside the 26 Counties, apparently without the knowledge of the authorities in Dublin.
Meanwhile, the PSNI chief George Hamilton has claimed in a newspaper interview that his force had locked up the leadership of a number of republican groups, something of which he was “very proud”.
He ignored criticism by human rights groups of the force’s reliance on internment by remand, where political activists can be held for years awaiting trials which never materialise or quickly collapse.
“That’s a positive thing for me, prisons are bulging with people on remand,” he boasted.
Republican Network for Unity activists across the Six Counties have begun erecting posters which they say is designed to counteract the latest PSNI campaign aimed at portraying themselves as the face of justice.
“These posters were designed to defeat the British militia’s narrative that they are the face of justice in working class communities, while they continue to immerse themselves in a number of abuses of the same communities,” they said in a statement.
“RNU will continue to oppose the PSNI’s attempt to portray themselves as a community police force that work in the interests of working class people.
“They are an anti-community militia steeped in political policing, facilitating internment, the use of child informers, granting criminals immunity in exchange for their services and a host of other black operations at the behest of the British intelligence services, MI5.
“The PSNI (incorporating the RUC) remain the front line of British rule in Ireland. Their premier task is defence of the state through the monitoring and crushing of political dissent, in particular organised Irish Republicanism.”