More difficulties with “due process” for Sinn Féin. This time it’s in Londonderry, where the mayor of the city, Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell, has had his home searched by police and laptops and mobile phones taken away. The BBC report quotes SF MLA Raymond McCartney.
Sinn Fein have described the raid as “inexplicable” and said the party will be demanding answers.
“There was contact with senior PSNI personnel explaining whose home it was,” said Raymond McCartney.
“They were in his home for an hour and a half. In our opinion, they should not have been in his home.”
Mr McCartney said the operation would cause “serious harm” to people’s perception of policing in Creggan.
“In fairness, I would say that some of the PSNI personnel on the ground were accepting that this was a mistake.
“Despite our efforts to try and point this out, the officers in charge ignored whose home this was and instructed the people to search the house,” he said.
Other overnight raids in the city, which it has not been confirmed are connected to this one, are reported to be part of a major police operation into the republican vigilante group, RAAD. The BBC reports that three men have been arrested and five assault rifles and three handguns have been seized .
It’s not the first time in recent years that Sinn Féin have attempted to interfere in an ongoing police investigation.
And, as Liam Clarke pointed out at that time
In a modern democracy, politicians are expected to allow the police the operational independence to follow up whatever leads come up – even if many of them turn out to be false.
The alternative would be for detectives to ring up senior politicians and to ask which suspects could be vouched for and which it would be wise to pull in for questioning.
That is just the sort of old boys’ network that republicans claimed operated between senior unionists and the RUC under the old Stormont.
Adds The updated BBC report no longer has the quotes above from Raymond McCartney, but does quote Cllr Kevin Campbell who says he will be filing a complaint with the Police Ombudsman. From the updated BBC report
“Their intelligence believed that someone else was in the house along with me,” [Cllr Campbell] said.
“I told them categorically there is nobody in here. I’m the mayor of this city and my integrity is at stake.
“They obviously weren’t accepting that. They arrived at half past ten and kept the house surrounded. At ten past four someone made the decision to raid the house.
And, in the meantime, “There was contact with senior PSNI personnel explaining whose home it was”.
Update In the UTV report Cllr Campbell confirms that the police had “a search warrant under the prevention of terrorism act 2000”.
Police confirmed they had carried out searches at houses in Derry as part of an investigation into an ongoing investigation into paramilitary style assaults and shootings.
“The policing operation was fast moving and fluid and required police to actively pursue suspects believed to be involved.
“Senior police commanders have met with Sinn Fein representatives in the city this afternoon to discuss police actions.”