Vulnerable woman targeted in ‘aggressive’ new PSNI approach

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A north Belfast mother of two children has been subjected to “persistent and aggressive” attempts by the PSNI to recruit her as an informer.

Danielle Crawford, who has children with a prominent north Belfast republican, has been left feeling frightened and panicked after being approached twice by the same Special Branch police in recent weeks.

The mother-of-two said the same couple had first approached her in plain clothes. She said she was forced to flee to a nearby pharmacy to escape them.

“I said ‘I don’t want to speak to you, you are intimidating me, I don’t feel safe’.” But they then attempted to contact her by phone and she said she was left feeling “frantic”.

During a second approach the couple were in an unmarked police car and dressed in PSNI boiler suits. Ms Crawford said she had to lock herself in her own car after the female spook insisted she get out.

Ms Crawford said she believes she is being targeted because she is currently experiencing personal issues.

She said she is not involved in politics. “I am no tout and I will never be a tout,” she said. “I go to work and come back, I rear my kids and I don’t do anything illegal.”

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said he has raised the matter with the PSNI’s local district commander and confirmed his party colleague Dolores Kelly has brought it up at Policing Board level.

“Clearly to me it looks like harassment and has left this woman shaken, distressed and upset,” he said.

“It has raised questions about who are these people and how they know information about her.”

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