“It is very sinister in terms of the direction the UVF is taking as a group…”

The BBC report that, following a Policing Board meeting, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris has said that UVF sanctioning of the murder of Bobby Moffett was “an active line of enquiry”.

Additionally, from the same BBC report

ACC Harris said the UVF remained a coherent organisation.

“The UVF remains very much an organised entity.

“So I wouldn’t recognise a description which described them as being fractured in any way. They are a group which still has its own internal discipline intact.”

He added: “It is very sinister in terms of the direction the UVF is taking as a group, but they are a terrorist group and that’s how they remain.”

Worth comparing that to the assessment contained in the latest IMC report [pdf file]

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Red Hand Commando (RHC)

2.45 In our Twenty-Second Report we said that the decommissioning of arms in June 2009 had been a very significant and positive development which was clear evidence of the organisation’s coherence and strategic direction. There had been other evidence of this, such as the expulsion of members who had behaved unacceptably and the steps the leadership took to ensure members did not react improperly to dissident republican violence. Although some members remained involved in crime, and we could not rule out that some arms had been retained in some parts of the organisation, we increasingly saw a picture of an organisation going out of business.

2.46 Nothing has happened during the period under review to cause us to reconsider our previous assessment of the direction in which the UVF leadership is seeking to take the organisation or its commitment to the strategy it enunciated three years ago. The leadership is cohesive. In the period under review it continued its work to guide the organisation away from paramilitary activity and to reduce the incidence of criminality amongst members, and it made worthwhile progress to that end. Members were expelled for breaching the organisation’s policies. It remains very significant that it was the first of the loyalist organisations to complete decommissioning, and that it did so at a time of increasing dissident republican activity. But the fact that the organisation had given up its weapons served to heighten anxiety amongst some members during the period under review. This was prompted mainly by the level and nature of dissident activity, coming at a time when some felt their communities were freshly vulnerable, and in some instances also by anxieties about police enquiries into old crimes. The leadership addressed these challenges and we are confident it will continue to do so. It is noteworthy that members did not resort to extreme measures against dissident republicans.

2.47 Notwithstanding both the commitment and the efforts of the leadership, some members of the UVF remained involved in a variety of illegal activity. Of the paramilitary-style assaults during the period that can be attributed to a particular loyalist group, the largest number were committed by UVF members. As we reported six months ago, we cannot rule out that some arms were retained in some parts of the organisation, but we believe that any attempts by individuals to acquire weapons in the period under review were unsanctioned, just as they were outside the organisation’s strategy. Some members remained deeply involved in serious crime, including drug dealing, fuel laundering, the sale of counterfeit goods, intimidation and extortion, though we believe the proceeds were generally for personal gain. We believe it was also the case that some members gathered intelligence about, or targeted, those they believed to be dissident republicans, to be involved in anti-social behaviour, or who were foreign nationals. Although senior figures may have sanctioned some of this activity in the case of dissidents, perhaps to ease anxiety on the part of members, we have no reason to believe that this implies any general change of direction. Members were amongst those who orchestrated civil disorders in Portadown in November 2009.

2.48 Overall, therefore, we believe the organisation remains committed to its path. It took some successful steps to move further along that path and we believe will continue to do so. The leadership nevertheless faced some challenges, but the fact that it addressed them is in our view an indication of its commitment to steering the UVF away from paramilitary activity. [added emphasis]

Update Given that, party leader, Dawn Purvis resigned from the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party as a result of the murder of Bobby Moffett, it also worth noting that “independent” Policing Board member David Rose declares these interests [pdf file]

Board member of North Down Impact (Community Restorative Justice Project); Chair of the North Down Constituency Association of the Progressive Unionist Party; Member of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) Executive

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  • Pete Baker

    Update Given that, party leader, Dawn Purvis resigned from the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party as a result of the murder of Bobby Moffett, it also worth noting that “independent” Policing Board member David Rose declares these interests [pdf file]

    Board member of North Down Impact (Community Restorative Justice Project); Chair of the North Down Constituency Association of the Progressive Unionist Party; Member of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) Executive

  • HeinzGuderian

    I dunno ? Maybe it’s just me,but are the republican ‘dissies’ not more of a worry to peeps ??

    (Bit like Somalian Piracy)

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    In her interview with Noel Thompson, Dawn Purves described her meeting with the UVF leadership as “emotional” (sounds a bit heated). In the interests of helping the Police investigation should Ms Purves give full details of her conversation with the UVF leadership to the Police.

  • johnkingii

    Given these recent events I think there may be some cause for concern for the coming months. We have an organisation the UVF in some state of turmoil and seemingly facing something of a backlash from its own community ie Shankill perhaps more widespread. And possibly looking for a way to portray themselves in a more favourable light to that community. Then we have reports that dissident republicans intend to cause disorder at upcoming loyalist parades. Of particular concern would be the Tour of The North, Whiterock and Ardoyne Twelfth feeder parades. These two issues if they come together could give the PSNI a major security headache coming weeks.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It is perhaps to early to conclude whether or not this killing and the fallout from this killing marks a move back towards violence by the UVF and whether there are any negative consequences for their relationship with the UDA who presumably are watching developments with interest.

  • Pete Baker

    And the PUP Executive member on the Policing Board…

  • TheHorse

    This is all about personalities, who’s the hardest man and all that. Im sure when it comes to the PSNI not turning a blind eye to the drug dealing activities of those on the Shankill who organised and carried out the murder of Mr Moffett, the leadership of the UVF will react the way it usuall does when individuals threaten their power base.

  • Pete Baker

    To repeat myself…

    And the PUP Executive member on the Policing Board…?

  • TheHorse

    What difference does that make nowdays Pete. In this place it seems everyone is bought and paid for, no-one is employed by the government because they have the proper qualifications, its all nudge nudge, wink wink, you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours. Lets be honest the policing board is a toothless tiger, a talking shop to give the illusion to supporters of certain political parties that they actually have an input into how certain areas are policed.

  • al

    Rose “In 2007, he returned to international contract work to take part in a post conflict capacity building project in the Indonesian province of Aceh.”

    I knew Rose for a while and he is a very wise man when it comes to politics. He was once deputy leader of the PUP but stood down to focus his efforts elsewhere. He acts as an independent on the policing board despite any ties he may still have with the PUP. If he was taking advice to the policing board from the PUP then questions would need to be asked however he isn’t so no issue.

  • TheHorse

    al.

    “In 2007, he returned to international contract work to take part in a post conflict capacity building project in the Indonesian province of Aceh.”

    What does that all mean in layman terms. Does that obsolve him in some way of his connections to the UVF.

  • al

    No it means he has a lot more experience dealing with post conflict socities than the rest of them on the policing board who have probably only left the country for a holiday in Benidorm and perhaps a trip to the states for Paddies Day. (With the exception of Daithi & Sharma)

    Guilty by association maybe but so are a lot of them on there.

  • wj

    DC Harris used to be based in Portadown.

    Its interesting that his officers in the PSNI decided (as the PSNI said afterwards to UTV and BBC) to “facilitate” a midnight protest last November outside a bar in Portadown by a 200 strong mob/gang which took umbrage at Protestants and Catholics socialising together in the town centre.

    For weeks beforehand, text messages had been circulating in the County Armagh town urging “unionists to show ‘republicans’ that we will not tolerate their behaviour or presence in our area”.

    The threat materialised at 12.30 am on a Saturday night/early hours of Sunday morning [November 28] when the bigots gathered outside the bar that is frequented by both Catholics and Protestants. True to form, the PSNI agreed to allow the lynch mob’s ‘protest’ to go ahead but apparently underestimated the numbers that would be involved.

    Once assembled, and after having been “facilitated” by the PSNI in delivering a letter and a poster to the bar, the crowd began to attack the cars of those Catholics who were inside the bar and, then, frustrated at not being able to reach the target of their anger – the bar’s clientele and its owners – they decided to riot and cause mayhem. One arrest was made during the three hours of violence which ensued.

    Last week, the IMC report blamed the UVF on the trouble.

    However, over six months on, the PSNI have yet to point the finger of blame at the UVF.

    Perhaps DC Harris should explain why some UVF actions are unacceptable to the PSNI while other UVF actions are not and can therefore be facilitated by by his officers..

  • wj

    DC Harris should read ACC (Assistant Chief Constable) Harris in my previous post,

  • al

    Awk sure thats thats just community policing, we have that in England. Lovely those PCSOs wj.

  • jim

    sure isnt maskey on it.he supported robert mc cartneys murderers