“They’re building themselves up and we’re being scaled back.”

BBC NI Newsline’s Conor McAuley has spoken to one of the 8 police officers who were on patrol in 4 cars when they came across masked and armed men at a paramilitary checkpoint in Meigh, near Newry. From the BBC article

There has been much speculation about why the officers who spotted the gunmen in Meigh did not wait for reinforcements before confronting them. The officer I spoke to said that is because the eight officers on patrol that night was virtually the full compliment of police available in the whole of south Armagh on Friday night. There is a marked police car operating in Newry, but it mostly deals with calls in the city itself.

There is also an armed response unit, the Special Operations Branch, which would be fully trained in anti-terrorist techniques, but its nearest base is some distance away, so unless they had already been in the area, it would have taken some time for them to reach the border, had the incident escalated into a gunfight.