A Sinn Féin delegation comprising of elected representatives from the Newry and Armagh and Louth constituencies and senior party activists recently met with new PSNI E District Policing Commander, Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields.
The meeting with DC Shields was the first of what are expected to be regular type engagements.
Speaking after the meeting, delegation spokesperson Declan Murphy said they found the meeting to be “frank, worthwhile and constructive”.
He said: “Sinn Féin is committed to tackling crime and making communities safe. We believe in promoting a civic, accountable all–Ireland policing and criminal justice agenda in full compliance with best practice, best human rights, equality and professional standards. Part of our obligations to achieving this is holding the local PSNI to account.
“There have been huge concerns throughout the area in relation to what we described at the meeting as incidents of heavy handed, militarised approaches by the PSNI to what could only be described as sensitive issues, for example up to six armoured land rovers arriving at the scene of an accident involving a young child.
“We made it clear that there must be a balance between the PSNI ensuring their own protection whilst delivering appropriate responses to the community. Our delegation also discussed the need to ensure that Policing Community Partnerships were an efficient and effective vehicle to develop the concept of policing with the community.
“This has to be done through meaningful manifestation of the Policing Partnership, its objectives and outcomes and a wider engagement with all strands of our society.
“Our initial meeting with DC Shields was frank, worthwhile and constructive. Sinn Féin continues to support policing and is committed to developing the concept of policing with the community. We want a police service, not a police force.
“We will confront bad policing where warranted and likewise commend where it is deserved. The public expects this from us. Where proper policing is not delivered then it needs challenged and changed for the better.”
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