What's happened to the police force service?

Brian Feeney, takes the PSNI, the NIO, and the Secretary of State to task over their respective responses to what has been, in contrast to last year, a chaotic and for some, a tragic summer. He asks, Ever get the feeling there’s no one in charge?

  • Young Fogey

    A Brian Feeney article and I agreed with, well, all of it!!!

    I feel all dirty now!

  • slug

    I agree with him too.

  • Canadian

    Mick

    Do you mean “the PSNI, the NIO, and the Secretary of State to task”?

  • Mick Fealty

    Corrected.

  • Ginfizz

    Feeny is correct. Nurse, my medication!!!!

  • fair_deal

    Agree too.

    Despite the PSNI success on a number of areas of crime they persistently botch the headline stuff big time. I still cannot come close to fathoming what the hell they thought they were at in Garnerville.

  • Young Fogey

    Despite the PSNI success on a number of areas of crime they persistently botch the headline stuff big time.

    They botch a lot of the smaller stuff as well… a pretty piss poor police force at the moment.

  • beano

    Much as I agree that the PSNI seems to have become toothless, I’m yet to hear any serious suggestion as to what they actually could have done in garnerville.

  • an seabhac siulach

    My, my, the PSNI is hopeless, unable and probably unwilling to deal with unionist arsonists and UVF mobs. Tell us something new. Strange how there is such a limp wristed response when they are required to confront unionist lawlessness. Where is all their intelligence gathering prowess (frequently and immediately on display when republicans are in the picture) now?
    And this is the police force that the stoops tell
    us that we should all support…as it is presently constituted…
    The actions of the PSNI this summer show very has changed in the internal ethos of that force since the Patten recommendations. What was it they used to say of the old RUC, 90% Protestant, 100% unionist…perhaps that should now be changed for the new PSNI to 50% Protestant, 100% unionist.
    Full control of the police force must be given to any future devolved government, so that it may be fully accountable to ALL the people of the six counties, not just to those who would worship a foreign monarch.

  • slug

    “[their intelligence gathering prowess is] frequently and immediately on display when republicans are in the picture”

    This prowess may have existed once but recent events suggest it is no more.

  • Young Fogey

    I’m yet to hear any serious suggestion as to what they actually could have done in garnerville.

    • Lift lots of UVF men.
    • Lift lots of LVF men.

    Would do for starters.

  • fair_deal

    Beano

    Some locals claim the PSNI were given information on drug dealing etc how’s about acting on that? Arresting and charging people with loitering with intent, intimidaton, illegal assembly?

  • fair_deal

    Where is all their intelligence gathering prowess (frequently and immediately on display when republicans are in the picture) now?

    1. The intelligence operations have been wound down.
    2. Experienced intelligence officers took the Patten package and got out because they could see where policing was going ie toothless.
    3. At the demand of the SDLP the services of a large number of informers were dispensed with.
    4. Their intelligence gathering didn’t seem to good at preventing or catching those republicans responsible for the largest robbery in the UK ever.

    Less intelligence gathering + less experienced staff + less informers = Piss poor results

  • an seabhac siulach

    So, if their intelligence gathering is now so poor, which I am not convinced it is, seeing as how intelligence gathering is in the hands of MI5, and seeing as how the renamed special branch has practically the same number of operatives as before, then why and how was there such an immediate certainty by Mr. Orde
    that the provos were responsible for the Northern bank robbery back in January? I could give many, many examples of the same…
    These ‘lapses’ of intelligence when it comes to unionist crime would appear to be related more to political bias than any institutional failings…

  • beano

    YF much as I’d like to see that happen you don’t give any pracitcal methods (charges?) so I see no need to answer any further.

    Fair Deal:
    “Some locals claim the PSNI were given information on drug dealing etc how’s about acting on that?”

    Do they not need to have an investigation of some sort before they can arrest on tip offs?

    ” Arresting and charging people with loitering with intent”
    You’d have to prove intent

    “intimidaton”
    Nobody complained of being intimidated

    “illegal assembly?”
    illegal?

    Please don’t think I’m trying to get terrorist scumbags off the hook, I’m just trying to imagine how much I’d want to get involved and clean some of the filth of the streets if I was an officer there, and how frustrating it would be to be powerless.

  • fair_deal

    an seabhac siulach

    “how was there such an immediate certainty by Mr. Orde that the provos were responsible for the Northern bank robbery back in January”

    Sort to get in the way of the MOPEry but:
    1. The Northern Bank robbery occurred on 19th December 2004 (not January as you claim).
    2. Hugh Orde blamed the PIRA in his interim report on the robbery on 7th January 2005 (nearly three weeks afterwards is not immediate blame.)
    3. “Although the police initially refused to be drawn as to who might be involved….The British and Irish governments concurred with Orde’s assessment…”
    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Bank_robbery
    Has the Irish government and Bertie Ahern got an institutional sectarian/political bias too?

    “I could give many, many examples of the same”

    Looks like you are going to have to as your first example proved to be false.

    The PSNI sat back and watched republican youths attack Protestants homes a fortnight ago – did they forget about their bias that day?

    Nationalist demanded Patten. Patten has delivered a piss poor policing service. Maybe the wish-lists need a little more thought in future.

  • Oilbhear_Chromaill

    Meanwhile Ian Paisley, leader of the DUP and chief priest in the Free Presbyterian Church and opponent of Rome Rule, is expounding in London about the Irish government providing ‘a hidey hole for terrorist’ – yes you’ve guessed it the North Antrim MP, so silent all Summer about the sectarian attacks on nationalists in his constituency, has managed to get his mouth into gear to bring up the Columbia 3 non-issue. Apparently it ‘could have an impact on the wider peace process’ he has warned in advance of next week’s meetings in London.
    He had better soften his cough or he may find an unreceptive audience to sermons on providing succour for terrorists from a man whose party has been providing covering fire for unionist paramilitary thugs throughout this Summer and the entire troubles.

  • an seabhac siulach

    fair_deal:

    How many months, or should that be years, have the unionist thugs in North Antrim being victimising the innocent there (e.g. Harryville), and STILL the PSNI does not know who is doing it or managed to arrest a single person? Amazing. And yet weeks, was it, after the Northern bank robbery they had full intelligence on who was involved. Dealing with the less than sophisticated attacks of unionist thugs, with little knowledge of forensics, I would imagine, they make no progress week after week after week. Strange that.
    Another example? Here you go…they were very quick to respond, and amazingly ‘on the scene’ when capturing those provos attempting to abduct Bobby Tohill on February 20, 2004 in Belfast city centre. Strange that they never seem to just chance upon some unionist thugs in Ballymena or Ahoghill going about their business. Strange thing coincidence…

    What you mention as republican attacking Protestant homes was during a one-off riot…this is not the same as the clearly orchestrated and long running campaign of violence directed against the catholic community of North Antrim. Nobody is saying that violence is not being carried out by both sides, but the proportion of violence directed at catholics at the moment is clearly greater and of a much higher intensity. Because the PSNI were not able to deal with a riot on one day does not mean that they are evenhandedly incompetent, as it were, to both communities…

    So, because Nationalists asked for the bigoted RUC to be reformed they are responsible for the inability of the present force to do their job. Ridiculous. In any case, Patten was not fully implemented. Some of us are still waiting…
    Wish list for the future…devolve all police powers to local, i.e., Irish, hands and out of the hands of unaccountable english ministers and even more incompetent english chief constables.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Patten has delivered a piss poor policing service

    Patten has not been fully implemented

  • Yoda

    Genuine question:

    What parts of Patten have not been implemented?

    Anyone?

  • Chris Gaskin

    Here is just some Yoda

  • fair_deal

    “How many months, or should that be years, have the unionist thugs in North Antrim being victimising the innocent there (e.g. Harryville), and STILL the PSNI does not know who is doing it or managed to arrest a single person?”

    They have arrested and charged three people. One man from Ahoghill and two more in Ballymena.

    “Dealing with the less than sophisticated attacks of unionist thugs, with little knowledge of forensics”

    1. Oh dear I see you have descended to “All loyalists are thick so they must be easy to catch”
    2. I grew up in a Loyalist working class estate (and still live in such a community) even the most moronic of the thugs had grasped the idea that wearing gloves means no finger print evidence. In this wonderfully modern place called Northern ireland we even have lots of TV programmes detailing forensic techniques maybe they have watched and learned.

    “Amazing. And yet weeks, was it, after the Northern bank robbery they had full intelligence on who was involved”

    1. Intelligence and admissible evidence are two different things. Knowing and proving are two different things.
    2. The PSNI have said loyalists are responsible and said that from the start. So what exactly is the difference in their behaviour between the two incidents?
    3. The PSNI have not charged anyone with the Northern Bank robbery so your point is exactly?

    “amazingly ‘on the scene’ when capturing those provos attempting to abduct Bobby Tohill on February 20, 2004 in Belfast city centre”

    1. People in the bar called them
    2. The area is covered by Police CCTV cameras. You tend to notice men beating a man and bundling him into the back of a van on a cctv camera.
    3. Here are some examples of the PSNI catching Loyalists in the act
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/
    northern_ireland/4056471.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/
    northern_ireland/2362247.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/
    northern_ireland/3210471.stm
    http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/2/hi/uk_news/
    northern_ireland/3507082.stm

    More one-offs?

    Some Loyalist response to police actions against them;
    http://www.psni.police.uk/index/media_centre/
    press_releases/press_release_detail.htm?PRID=1054
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/
    northern_ireland/4747881.stm

    Obviously bosom buddies

    “this is not the same as the clearly orchestrated and long running campaign of violence directed against the catholic community of North Antrim.”

    There has been a sustained campaign against the Protestant community in the Fountain area of Londonderry. This is the ramblings of the local police commander about the attacks:
    Mr Russell, district commander for Foyle, said police were “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea”. “If we have to react to an incident, which side do you react to?” Mr Russell said.

    Local PSNI Commander says we don’t know what to do – that’ll inspire confidence. The people of the Fountain are also still waiting for their fire blankets and permanent police presence too.

    ” at the moment is clearly greater and of a much higher intensity”

    Is it? Sinn Fein’s report highlighted some 85 incidents by loyalists about half of which were sectarian. There have been at least 33 sectarian attacks against protestants in 10 different cities/towns/villages in a similar time frame. Plus 11 attacks against protestants in Ballymena too.(25% of all sectarian attacks which weren’t included in the 33 attacks statistic) There have also been at least 22 acts of republican violence and intimidation and at least 3 racist and homophobic attacks in nationalist areas.

    That looks like a sustained campaign to me of comparable levels (with the very notable exception of murders at the hands of loyalists).

    “Nationalists asked for the bigoted RUC to be reformed”

    1. They actually called for its disbandment.
    2. What had cutting the number of police informers got to do with bigotry?
    3. Demand the unit with the most experience of monitoring terrorist groups be torn apart and then complain the PSNI are no good at catching them. Not see a cause and effect here? (The RUC clear up rate of loyalist terrorism was much higher than it ever was for republicans how bigoted of them!)

  • Elvis the dog

    Would Mr. Feeny object to internment of the loyalists involved?

  • levee

    Nice bit of counter-argument, fair_deal! Funny how a bit of one-sided arguing can be beaten by decent research!

  • fair_deal

    Levee

    Decent research is a hobby horse of mine

  • levee

    Oh? Well, you should ride it then!

  • fair_deal

    Levee

    Hi ho researcher 😉

  • Sean Fear

    Superb research Fair_Deal. How can Brian Feeney complain about getting the police force that he wanted?

    He wanted an ineffectual force, that was incapable of standing up to terrorist violence. The government delivered. Surely, he should be pleased that his wish was granted.

  • Denny Boy

    “He wanted an ineffectual force, that was incapable of standing up to terrorist violence.”

    Gosh, why would he want such a thing? Is Mr Feeney a terrorist?

  • IJP

    YF

    As one who has been stopped for going at the speed limit, told to ‘wait an hour before you drive on because there’s a powerful smell of drink in your car’ (I’m teetotal), and had police lose reports I’ve filed, I agree entirely that the PSNI is too often a disorganized shambles, small or big.

    Moaning about ‘Patten’ won’t solve a thing. A properly professional police service (whose legitimacy is universally accepted politically and socially) will.

    Chris

    Does that link not take us back a full five years?

    Got anything more recent?

  • barnshee

    Patten has produced police service many of whose members look as if they should not be out without their mothers. The PSNI is doomed long term as weel as having nor respect from nationalists they now have none from many protestants what a mess.

  • Totally Disgruntled

    To be honest i agree with a lot that has been said of the current so called Psni. Im Unionist myself and i never thought i would ever hear myself saying that these keystone cops are not my police force. I think of the amount of money they can find to deal with the riot situations that occur and wonder where does all that man power go when there isnt a riot going on because i never hear of them catching the thugs who broke into old Granny Smiths house, beat her up and robbed her, anyone else ever notice this? Furthermore I have to agree with YF above they are exceptionally good at harrassing motorists and some of these so called officers are the most rude, ignorant people i have ever come across. We all have our views about this police force some for, some against personally i am 100% against, it would also seem that this is a trend among a lot of protestants especially after the recent riots in belfast. Some of the things they were doing against women and children were totally unacepptable. Mr Hain asks people to make their minds up if they are on the side of the law and in support of the police or the side of rioters, all i can say is if thats what he calls law and a police force? then i have to say no i want nothing to do with them

  • Moderate Unionist

    What a mess. We are back fifteen years. Sectarian bigotry from both “sides”, a police force that can’t police large areas of the province. A peace process in absolute tatters. Zero trust, absolute hatred. No prospect of devolved government.

    I will watch with interest as SF attempt to move their political agenda forward without having to worry about the Unionists. I have a feeling that far from being ideal, this will become a significant problem in years to come.