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Police ‘stop and search’ on vulnerable woman described as deplorable

Police checkpoint night

A police stop and search in Newry involving a vulnerable woman on Saturday has been described as “unacceptable and deplorable”.

Officers on patrol in the city on Saturday stopped a vehicle in the Hospital Road area just after 9pm.

Once the vehicle was stopped, police spoke with the male driver. Officers subsequently conducted a search, under the Justice and Security Act, of the male driver and a female passenger in the vehicle.

Newry City Sinn Féin councillor Liz Kimmins said the officers’ actions towards what she describes as a vulnerable woman as “deplorable”.

The elected representative has said that she will be raising the issue at the next Policing Partnership.

“A woman was stopped outside her own house by PSNI Officers who demanded to search her bag,” she explained.

“This well-known person who clearly would be identified as a vulnerable woman was subject to inappropriate and insensitive treatment by these officers, who despite her very visible distress, continued their ‘operation’.

“Those who witnessed this heavy handed stop and search procedure on this vulnerable lady were deeply angered and shocked.

“I have no hesitation in stating clearly that the actions of the PSNI were unacceptable and deplorable. I will raise this issue at the next meeting of the Policing Community Safety Partnership (PCSP).

“The public rightly expect the PSNI to be held to the very highest policing and human rights standards.

“That is the approach Sinn Féin take to the policing structures and we intend to ensure they are held to account for any instance where officers fall below the standards expected.”

Chief Inspector Nigel Henry said: “We are mindful of the impact that stop and search powers have on the community and we seek to ensure all of our interactions are professional, respectful and courteous.

“PSNI is fully committed to ensuring the fair, effective and legitimate use of stop and search powers which are vital in helping us to prevent, detect and investigate crime.

“We have a number of governance groups to ensure police powers are being used fairly and effectively.”

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