On transforming Loyalist attitudes to policing

Fionnuala Meredith talks to Dawn Purvis, the PUP’s newly appointed member on the Policing Board and, by the reckoning of some, one of the party’s most talented players. She talks about her reasons for taking up the post and how it relates to her view of the role of politics in transforming attitudes (subs needed) within her own core Loyalist constituency:

“Policing is all about dealing with crime and crime prevention. What the PUP is about is ensuring an end to criminality, ensuring that people who at one point turned to violence now use democratic means to deal with issues.” But if she knew UVF members were taking part in criminal behaviour, would she have any difficulty reporting that? “None whatsoever. If I see a crime in the street, I report it, no matter who’s involved. Those same principles are held by the leadership of the PUP, the leadership of the UVF, the leadership of the Red Hand. Criminality is totally wrong, whether drug-dealing, extortion, pimping, breaking and entering – it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s wrong, against the law.”

Purvis is determined to use her new position to tackle the deep sense of alienation and hostility towards the police that causes disaffected youngsters to scrawl “PSNI scum” on walls and gable-ends in loyalist areas. “This is one of my main motivations for joining the board. How many police recruits come from Sandy Row? Or the Shankill Road? They probably get more recruits into policing from the Bogside or the Falls.”

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  • Pete Baker

    As Fionnuala Meredith correctly points out, Dawn Purvis’ view that the leadership of the PUP, the UVF and the Red Hand share the same principles as she claims on criminality, and by implication the same principles as the police themselves, is extraordinary.

    From the Irish Times article –

    “Purvis is sanguine that her roles as PUP chairwoman and Police Board member are entirely compatible, based on her extraordinary belief in the fundamental moral probity of both the PUP and the UVF.”

    It’s also an indication that her appointment by Peter Hain as an independent member of the Policing Board is another strategic mistake by the Secretary of State.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The UVF have done things in the past which I have been highly critical of to say the least. Actually, scrap that – they have done things which have sickened me to the bottom of my stomach…

    10 miles from me they killed the Quinn children in the Carnany estate, Ballymoney and even closer to home they shot indescriminantly into the Coleraine home of Frankie Daly in Ballysally, a former UDP member, lodging a bullet into the head of his daughter Charlene and hospitalising her for months. This was part of the bloody feud with the UDA, when unlike young Charlene Daly, they were actually succesful in killing innocent Protestants, such as Jackie Coulter and his friend Bobby Mahood, who were meeting to discuss ways of ending the pointless intra-loyalist madness.

    But the key words in the above paragraph are “in the past”. I believe that the UVF leadership are now committed to following a purely democratic, political path, but I do realise that there will be “Doubting Thomas’s” out there who will need to see the evidence on the ground, so it is up to individual UVF/Red Hand Commando commanders to persuade the grassroots rank-and-file of the futility of violence…

  • Stephen Copeland

    CL,

    … I do realise that there will be “Doubting Thomas’s” out there who will need to see the evidence on the ground

    Or in the photographs, don’t forget!

  • Dec

    To be fair Jacko there wasn’t that much of a furore over Purvis’ appointment; after all, the PUP aren’t SF and the UVF aren’t the IRA. But I don’t think anyone who expressed disquiet about her appointment was doing so on the basis of her gender or feminist credentials.

  • Jacko 92

    “But I don’t think anyone who expressed disquiet about her appointment was doing so on the basis of her gender or feminist credentials.”

    I agree with you entirely Dec. I think as well that the furore over the appointment was more muted than it might have been and, possibly, might have deserved.

  • Mick Fealty

    Jacko, which part of ‘no ad hominem comments’ do you not understand?

  • Jacko 92

    Mick
    Are you saying that we can only interpret a written piece, and the motivating factors behind it, in line with your own interpretation?

    To present Dawn Purvis’s appointment as somehow breaking down the walls of a previously male bastion is not only wrong but laughably so.

  • Pitbull Sam

    After a demonstration inwhich the uvf/pup was highly involved in, in the Village area of Belfast last night which has been labelled racist across the board, how can anyone associated with these thugs, bigots and neanderthals sit on a Police board?

  • Mick Fealty

    You can pick the argument to bits. All I ask is that you lay off personal attacks on the messenger.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist: “But the key words in the above paragraph are “in the past”. I believe that the UVF leadership are now committed to following a purely democratic, political path, but I do realise that there will be “Doubting Thomas’s” out there who will need to see the evidence on the ground, so it is up to individual UVF/Red Hand Commando commanders to persuade the grassroots rank-and-file of the futility of violence… ”

    Oh, sod the photographs, Stephen, I think this calls for sack-cloth and ashes.

  • Jacko 92

    “All I ask is that you lay off personal attacks on the messenger”.

    One can hardly describe the author of a piece as the messenger – unless you think Ms Meredith is delivering God’s word or something.

    This is a 70s-type piece of “sisterhood” writing presented on the flimsiest of pretexts – boring and dated.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Was my comment yesterday intimating that it is about time Meredith realised she lives in a post-Suffragettes era removed, and if so why?

  • Michelle

    I have been following this debate and as a woman find it offensive that when your arguments fail to win support you instead turn your attention to the writer of the article in question.

    How much do you know of the writer of that piece? I am assuming that you know nothing of her work, or her beliefs.Try googling her name and you will see that her work is far from boring and dated!

    And perhaps if you care to read some of them, you will realise the validity and need for feminism today!