“I think it’s very helpful to see it as a criminal enterprise”

Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has been speaking at a Guardian sponsored event on the fringes of the Labour Party conference – at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. He also iterated a version of his party’s “civic” policing line – “For our part Sinn Féin has sought to develop a fully civic policing service and separate out British National Security interests.” By which he means leaving the issue of “British National Security interests”, such as the continued activities of republican paramilitaries, in the hands of MI5 – where they have the expertise. Interestingly, the new Chief Constable may be moving in a different direction

The new PSNI chief constable has indicated that he plans to respond to dissident republicans in the same way as any other criminal enterprise. Warning that the threat from breakaway factions was serious, Matt Baggott said it was a huge mistake to see terrorism as isolated from criminality. “I think it’s very helpful to see it as a criminal enterprise,” he said

Of course, “those are decisions for the Chief Constable”. But don’t tread on any MI5 toes, Matt.And a reminder of the UK Government’s view of attempts “to make a distinction between civic and political policing”

11. Mr. Greg Hands (Hammersmith and Fulham) (Con): Whether it is the policy of the Government to distinguish between civic and political policing in Northern Ireland. [132693]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Paul Goggins): The Government’s policy is to deliver effective, impartial and accountable policing, supported by the entire community in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hands: Does the Secretary of State agree that it is not right for Sinn Fein Assembly Members to make a distinction between civic and political policing, as they appear to be doing?

Paul Goggins: Time is moving on. People may have made that distinction in the past, but it is not being made now. Sinn Fein has made an historic commitment to support policing and the rule of law, it is actively encouraging people from its communities to report criminality to the police, and in the very recent past it has indicated that its members intend to take up their positions on the Policing Board. There is no such distinction in Northern Ireland, nor should there be.

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  • Robbie

    When was the last time the Provos were at the Grand Hotel in Brighton? Roy Walsh. Wonder if any Sinn Feiners staying at room 629…

    Something very poignant about that location being chosen to deliver such a speech on the Party’s support for policing institutions (‘civic’ or otherwise).

  • percy

    I guess a bad day to bury good news eh !
    Justice powers devolved soon – PM

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The old Billy Connolly joke springs to mind – anyone from Norn Iron here? When you leave – we all leave.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    as if..

  • percy

    indeed sammy, as we approach full implementation of P&J,
    its going get more difficult for peteb to find pointless distractions;
    but we know he won’t disappoint.
    Games up !

  • How soon I wonder will we learn of a back channel to dissident republicans?

    Sir Patrick Mayhew repeatedly challenged my assertion in 1993 that the government was communicating with the IRA. History speaks for itself.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Good to see Gordon wanting to get on with it.

    Surprise surprise Unionists dragging their heels on progress again.

    RE:Brighton venue.
    I am sure that there were still some Labour die- hards that were still disappointed that Thatcher survived the previous contribution from Republican paramilitaries.

  • “my assertion in 1993 that the government was communicating with the IRA.”

    Perhaps Patrick was taking political direction from the Prime Minister or Douglas Hurd, the then Foreign Secretary and presumably boss of MI6, who met with ‘Martin and Mitchel’ at the time of his visit to the deep water facility at Lisahally on November 5, 1993.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Only some history repeats itself – the trick being to spot the bits that do.

  • “The Government’s policy is to deliver effective, impartial and accountable policing” … Goggins

    How can those day-to-day and policy decisions, pertaining to policing and justice and that are ‘managed’ by the BIIC Joint Secretariat, fit in with the notion of accountable policing when inter-government communications are in secret and not subject to parliamentary scrutiny?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Whereas Slabbery, with the bould example of yourself, it’s not hard to find the poster who *always* repeats himself. No matter how mad the jibber-jabber. One of these days you really must tell us the full inside loon-story on what it’s been like in your dimension, where P&J was transferred 2 years ago, as per McMurderous’s timetable, as opposed to being rolled as the Punt, and he alone, dictated.

  • Babeuf

    Anybody learn anything in the last fourty years?

  • qubol

    L(T)U: it’s not hard to find the poster who *always* repeats himself.

    yeah, you said it.

    when will someone red/yellow card this guy????

  • leave slabbery alone

    Severe psychological and playing the man issues going on with that chap. L(T)U is David Trimble.

  • barnshee

    Shit— all those “crims” who have not got a job as an MLA or a MLA`s assistant/research officer/wife/shag/community worker

    The euro has shit on oil smuggling, cigs are hardered to smuggle by the day

    what else is for the poor bastards(lit??) but dissident republicanism

  • Brian MacAodh

    Eamon Mallie

    Dissident republicans never flattened London’s financial district in back to back years last time I checked

  • latcheeco

    “very helpful to see it as a criminal enterprise.”

    Ah, the gift that keeps on giving.

    The PSNI couldn’t spot a criminal enterprise if joyriders hijacked Captain Kirk and hovered for a day over Knock.

  • RepublicanStones

    F**k me latch, spat me merlot out reading that…you owe me a new keyboard.

  • Retrin

    latcheeco, Republicanstones, get a room.

  • Aodh

    The new PSNI CC won’t get far being honest. Time for PeterMartin to call him in and put him right.

  • hmmmmm it is veryyyy intersting blog i read it