Orde: Sinn Fein can join Policing Board tomorrow

Today, Hugh Orde gives Sharon O’Neill an interview focused on recent events (subs needed). The Bank raid and its consequences are in the foreground> He remains resolute on bringing the robbers to justice, but would welcome Sinn Fein onto the Policing Board: “If Sinn Fein don’t want to join, go and ask them why. They can join tomorrow as far as I am concerned”.On sharing evidence in public he says:

We cannot share intelligence and evidence which will eventually, if we are successful, end up as the main prosecution case. No chief would do that. What is different here is no chief would come under the sort of pressure I came under for many weeks to attribute the crime.

I did not come rushing out to say ‘it was X, despite the pressure and despite the personal attacks on me for not doing that. However, it became operationally necessary, which was when I did stand up and say what I said.

It was operationally necessary for a number of reasons. One is it seems to have been forgotten there are some very real victims in this crime. People need to be reminded that this was a very brutal crime. Families were abducted, terrified, intimidation and threatened.

“Point two was it was impossible for my investigating officer, because of the ‘headless chickens’ running around trying to make political capital out of this, to get proper appeals into the press and proper information out to the public.

So it was getting in the way of the investigation, which was the other reason I decided it was necessary to do it [a press conference]. If people seriously think I was going to make such a statement without being 99.9 recurring per cent certain of my facts, then they must be mad. This is a career-threatening statement if it was wrong.

In terms of convincing people, be they from both sides of the divide, then they have to judge me on whether they trust me or not.