The parallel systems of policing in the north of Ireland have been highlighted by the treatment of two members of the PSNI who were released despite pleading guilty to opening fire at a house party.
The two PSNI members were reportedly drunk, under the influence of drugs and engaged in a dispute which ended in gunfire outside a house party in Dunmurry in south Belfast last weekend. A number of other PSNI personnel were present in violation of Covid-19 measures they were responsible for enforcing.
Despite admitting this and being convicted, both PSNI men were released on bail unconditionally. A further three PSNI members were cautioned for breaching social distancing regulations.
The IRSP said it understood that the two men charged were actually serving members of the PSNI’s ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’ who had became engaged in a scuffle which spilled out onto the street, when the shots were fired.
“PSNI vehicles then arrived on the scene to calm the situation and quickly ushered their two colleagues away, however it has not been reported that, according to neighbours in the street, an unknown quantity of cocaine was located in the property and taken away.
“This became evident during the ranting of one of the officers as he was being put under arrest at the scene, apparently angry that he was being questioned by his own colleagues.
“A resident, disturbed by the commotion, came to the front of their home and was videoing the altercation but was then forced to delete the video from their phone under threat that their device would be confiscated, so the PSNI accomplished in their mission to keep these events relatively off the record, aside from their own account of course.”
The PSNI are now understood to have increased random drug tests for their members after quantities of drugs that have been confiscated during Covid-related house raids have gone missing.
“This event poses serious questions as to the competence of the PSNI and particularly their PCTF which has been granted tens of millions of pounds in funding from the tax payer,” the IRSP said.
“This is apparently a special unit within the PSNI, established to tackle, in their eyes, the most serious ‘organised crime gangs’ in Ireland but judging by their conduct, they seem capable of establishing an organised crime gang of their very own.”
Saoradh contrasted the situation with the most recent cases directed against republican activists who they said face “flimsy charges with essentially no evidence” coupled with draconian bail conditions.
“The state in its entirety protects its own, regardless of what charges are levied against its militia. Republicans on the other hand, find themselves imprisoned on lies and little or no evidence.”