“in order to ensure the safety of the community and the officers responding…”

The BBC reports that the PSNI have defended the delay of over an hour before officers arrived at the scene of a car bomb alert in Newry on Saturday night.  Unlike the security alert on Friday in the Newry area, this one was eventually declared a hoax.  From the BBC report

A hijacked taxi, containing a suspect device, was abandoned close to houses on Martins Lane on Saturday night.

Residents used their own cars to block the road and tried to divert traffic themselves as they waited for police.

The PSNI said they did not attend immediately for safety reasons. The alert was later declared a hoax.

Police were told about the alert shortly after 21:30 BST and they began the evacuation shortly after 22:30 BST.

The taxi had been hijacked by two masked men who put a hoax bomb inside.

It was then driven towards Martins Lane, a residential area close to the main Belfast to Dublin road, where it was abandoned. Up to 20 houses were evacuated during the alert.

Army Technical Officers (ATO) were called and the device was declared a hoax just before 03:00 BST on Sunday.

It’s an area in which police have been criticised before for their response to security alerts.

Of course, they could probably have attended the scene sooner, and more fully, in both cases.  If they had been able to call for a military escort…

[But it’s a “fully civic policing service”! – Ed]  Indeed.  As the BBC report notes

In a statement, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said their investigation began “immediately” and officers had “worked as quickly as possible, planning and assessing, in order to ensure the safety of the community and the officers responding.”

Area Commander Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said: “We, in Newry, are committed to investigating this security alert but we have an over-riding responsibility to protect and preserve life, and that includes the lives of the community and the lives of our own officers.

“For this reason, some situations may have to be dealt with cautiously due to the significant threat from a small number of people who have shown their determination to kill police officers.”

Chief Inspector McNally thanked the residents of Martins Lane who “showed such community spirit in dealing with this incident”.