About 15 years ago I spoke to a member of the RUC who was then based on the Loyalist Shankill Road. He said his job fell into two distinct roles. In Nationalist Ardoyne, he was a soldier; frequently lying flat out in someone’s front garden dodging bullets. Whereas on the loyalist Shankill, he could be found conducting traffic and helping little old ladies across the road.
Things have changed. The police no longer play the role of soldier in nationlist areas, but neither are they as welcome as they once were in Loyalist areas. Chief Superintendent Brendan McGuigan:
“My sense of it is that even through the height of the Troubles, the police were able to deal with the loyalist paramilitaries and still retain the support of the working class Protestant communities. I’m not for one minute suggesting that we still don’t have the support of those communities but it’s certainly not as overt as it previously had been. I think a lot of that is down to the insidious growth of pressure that the paramilitaries can bring to bear on Protestant working class communities.”
Regarding the investigation of recent sectarian murders, he says:
“Clearly we should be receiving information in relation to these murders from those working class communities. It’s simply not coming forward.”
Other stories: Sinn Fein have sent a detailed submission containing it’s problems with the Policing Board to the UK government. If there is movement on this however Unionists have threatened to pull out. Congressmen condemn the policing of the Short Strand.