“At best they will be meaningless talking shops..”

As noted by Newshound, the Impartial Reporter quotes Fermanagh Sinn Féin councillor Bernice Swift’s apparent disagreement with her party’s policy [free reg req] on policing and District Police Partnerships.

She said, “For some, the DPPs are seen as a possible means by which community control and accountability might be exercised over the police. The argument has been made that by republicans becoming active in policing structures the local policing decision making processes will reflect the needs of the community as opposed to the political interests of the state – I think not! On the contrary the DPPs possess significantly less influence than the limited powers of the policing board. The Patten recommendations, (and indeed subsequent similar legislation), states that the views of the DPPs would only be ‘taken fully into account’ by the police and it also makes clear that these bodies would have no power to investigate police activities or to approve policing plans for their areas?

“The lack of powers possessed by these boards and sub boards means that meaningful control and accountability by the community is impossible, as the control and accountability mechanisms rest elsewhere. These accountability mechanisms may have been tweaked recently but it is quite clear to me that such activist as those of MI5 will not be subject to any interference from these boards. The structural weaknesses of these boards are of more significance than whether or not republicans especially ex-prisoners should be allowed to serve on them? At best they will be meaningless talking shops with no legislative power or authority as they have been until now, whilst at worse thy could be institutions which I hope don’t bind republicans closer to the British state and implicate republicans in the inevitable failing, shortcomings and repressive actions of the police force protecting that state,” she stated.

Bernice Swift is not one of the 4 Sinn Féin councillors in Fermanagh who will take a seat on the DPP when it next meets on November 14.

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  • kensei

    She’s 100% right. Without force, they are pointless. Abolish them and have the police deal with local politicians directly.

  • kojak

    absolutly agree 100% with this, fair play to cllr swift for giving her views publictly on policing very rare for someone within sinn fein to be allowed to have there own opinion? there would be quite a few republicans in fermanagh who would agree with her I KNOW I DO. sinn fein were forced into supporting the PSNI and certainly didnt join the DPP’s for the reasons they publictly outlined. i wonder did the three or four thousand pounds a year persuade these fermanagh councillors? glad to see that at least some have the guts to speak ther mind.

  • kensei

    The DPP’s are the be all and end all of policing accountability, or of the reasons for supporting the police.

    You were doing so well too until when you start about the money, which is irrelevant. For bonus points you could have mentioned houses in Donegal.

  • kojak

    you will find that the money issue is relevant why else would anyone claiming to be from a republican party sit on a toothless body with no powers. the DPP’s are a partnership with the local police of that district,there is no powers to hold anyone to account. Sinn Fein are misleading people if they tell anyone anything different.

  • kensei

    “you will find that the money issue is relevant why else would anyone claiming to be from a republican party sit on a toothless body with no powers. the DPP’s are a partnership with the local police of that district,there is no powers to hold anyone to account. Sinn Fein are misleading people if they tell anyone anything different. ”

    Because they accepted that they will join the police structures, and the DPP’s are part of that. Refusing to sit on them, however correct the reasoning, probably would have resulted in further preconditions and deadlock.

    Once powers are transferred and the structures have bedded down a little, perhaps there will be more space for ideas around them. I’m not sure if changing them would fall within the remit of a devolved minster.

    Honestly, money is an argument so weak that really you don’t have one.

  • kojak

    money was only one of the arguments i put forward as a reason why some might sit on the DPP’s. toothless bodys with no power to hold anyone to account was another KENSEI.

  • Republican Strabane

    The Sinn Fein Cllr is 100% correct. The party appears to be headless on the issue of policing. As a life long republican from Strabane I find the argument put forward by Sinn Fein to be less than honest. Indeed locally it was not even discussed publicly in an serious manner. The thinking republican knows that the circumstances for entering the policing strutures have not been met, to say they have is to ignore the very reasons why Sinn Fein did not go on when the SDLP did.