Memo to the next Chief Constable: “It sounds to me like a battle a day – a siege.”

I’m sure it is only decent christian forbearance that stops the Chief Constable Matt Baggott from telling his political employers exactly what he thinks of them. They booked him for the gig knowing exactly what they were getting, and they could have sacked him at any point after.

Not that you’d know that from their public utterances during the last two or three summers. The running public commentary (which contrived to undermine the cops very cops they themselves are in control of) came from whichever side the PSNI was locking up or not locking up.

The Policing Board of Northern Ireland has become a loud platform for political grandstanding. The abandonment of key performance targets by the Board suggests a body determined not to know what the police get up to than one serious about actually holding them to account.

Chris Kilpatrick writing in the BelTel notes:

The Policing Board, which will oversee the appointment and that of the new Deputy Chief Constable, will meet to discuss the candidates next month.

Last night, a senior police source said whoever is chosen to replace 55-year-old Mr Baggott must be prepared for “a siege” as the head of the most scrutinised force in the world.

In regard to the Policing Board, the source said: “They have made it [the Chief Constable post] such an unpleasant role.

“It sounds to me like a battle a day – a siege.”

As Micheal Martin noted (video) in the Dail last May with regard to parades as “a major risk to civic stablility to civic peace in the north”:

If Sinn Féin members are on the Executive and the policing boards, they undermine the authority of the PSNI if they question its operational decisions on who to arrest or which crimes to pursue. That is fundamentally wrong and Sinn Féin does not enjoy that luxury.

In fact as the parades issue remains unresolved post Haass, this is an ongoing danger and one where there is little reciprocal leadership on either side of the leadership divide.

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  • Morpheus

    I would much rather the Chief Constable had a ‘battle a day’ and be accountable than give him free reign and risk a return to the policing of yesteryear.

    The final quote is completely irrelevant. Sinn Fein – despite the wishes of others – are democratically elected public representatives and have every right to be on the policing board and in case it has escaped anyone’s attention almost half of the representatives on the board are independent with a good mixture of politicians who represent both communities – I don’t think SF or anyone else on the board sits around deciding who gets arrested and who doesn’t.

  • Mick Fealty

    Me too Morph.

    Trouble is they are not actually talking to her/him about what they expect from him/her and upbraiding him/her when s/he fails to live up to their expectations. Remember it was our politicians that removed the targeting exercise, NOT the Chief Constable.

    That makes their lives as politicians easier, our lives as citizens tougher and the CC’s life hell.

    Rather they are telling us what s/he’s doing wrong (but only when it goes wrong). Presumably this is because they’re scared to tell her/him what they want/expect from him/her to do in case they might have to defend him/her (heaven forfend!!) if/when it goes wrong.

    In other words, the CC is not accountable to us, but ONLY because the politicians themselves are refusing to be accountable (or even just admitting) for their own role as our intermediaries in: 1, the CC’s appointment; and 2, the setting and implementation of police policy.

  • sherdy

    The only reason that PSNI chief constables are ‘the most accountable in the world’ is because previous holders of the post time after time proved that they were unwilling or incapable of doing the job impartially.
    You reference Baggott’s constant declaration of his Christianity. Experience over the years has taught me to beware those who loudly profess their beliefs.

    Mick, you quote from Micheal Martin who is possibly even more vociferous than yourself in the anti-Sinn Fein campaign to illustrate how they are not performing on the Policing Board as you think they should.

    The fact that you don’t criticise unionist involvement on that body would seem to indicate that you are quite happy with their performance. Is this so?

  • Son of Strongbow

    The PSNI Top Team are indeed dismayed by the Policing Board’s approach. As the comment about ‘fears’ of “a return to the policing of yesteryear” clearly illustrates petty political paranoia is the fil rouge that characterises how many board members approach their role.

    Command Secretariat, the Chief Officers’ support department within the PSNI, spend huge amounts of time and resources preparing papers for Board meetings.

    However it is the petty political axe-grinding subjects that are concentrated on during the meetings and the wealth of material drawn up that explains and lobbies for crucial matters that underpins the fundamentals of running an effective policing service; resources, finances, policy etc are largely ignored.

    In one aspect the police are bemused/frustrated by this as it either allows them to proceed on many important issues with a minimum of oversight or hamstrings them in making progress on other important matters (and also rendering much of the preparatory work of Command Sec redundant).

    The fact that the Board’s approach actually negates the Board’s role is lost on the Board.

    Two points on the structure of the Board and the meetings with Chief Officers. Firstly it is an easy ride for the board members as the police cannot indulge themselves in the political to and fro. So what occurs is simply an opportunity for political grandstanding.

    Secondly the ‘independent’ members of the board are in many cases political stooges. The few true independents are as dismayed about the issues the Board chooses to highlight as are the police themselves.

  • Mick Fealty


    The only example I gave was of Martin criticising SF. But if you read what I’ve said you will see that it is the whole PBNI I’m putting in the firing line, not just SF.

    That dialogue in the Dail is worth watching on video because it is clear Adams doesn’t really ‘understand’ what Martin’s talking about.

    The PSNI is only the most accountable police force in the world if someone is actually doing the oversight. Police can go feral by default (rather than by intention) if there is no tension in that relationship.

    See Callinan’s threat to go a legal path if LH’s PAC call two Garda whistleblowers in front of them over parking tickets.

    Even that’s got more than a touch of show boating but that political interface is where the tension needs to be, not the social interfaces on the streets.

  • Granni Trixie

    If we compare the workings of the previous Police Authority to the PB today you can say that the former ultimately could not hold their own group together (from memory,correct me anybody who knows better). Let’s not forget the elephant in the room. By participating SF has demonstrated commitment to law and order. Unionists also set a good example by working with them to hold the police/Chief to account. Also whatever the flaws of the PB model, it does look like the group achieves consensus even on extremely contentious issues but it would take in depth research to ascertain to what extent having nine independent members helps that along.

    So though there is room for improvement based on leArning from what has not gone well let’s also understand the difficulty of the task.

  • Mick Fealty

    I would accept that GT. But let’s also remember that if you don’t name a thing, it doesn’t actually exist.

    The journey to where we are has been long and arduous. But if we are not careful to consolidate those social and political gains, the way back beckons.

  • Morpheus

    Let’s not forget that crime is at a 15 year low here in Northern Ireland and the PSNI is accepted by the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland.

    There are definitely things that the CC could do better. For example I am not happy at the approach of allowing officers to stand there taking whatever is thrown at their heads until the rioters get tired – the next CC will need to change that tactic. If a scrote breaks the law then they need to face the consequences of that regardless if they are that idiot from city hall yesterday or the First Minister himself. The law is the law and the police have to be seen to be applying it equally to everyone regardless of who they are, what job they have or where they come from.

    I am also unhappy at their approach, or lack their off, to the increased threat from organised crime and dissidents. The obvious solution is to make the NCA accountable to the same high standards so we don’t have a secret police force running around and then let them go to town in partnership with the PSNI.

    Sherdy – I have noticed the increase in the number of quotes emanating from the RoI in lots of different blogs as if they add credibility to the anti-SF campaign here in NI but I think its a case of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and people need to realize that people like Michael Martin are political opponents as well.

  • Mick Fealty


    Baggott was ‘booked for the gig’ by the PBNI precisely because of his community led approaches.

    I think you need to talk to your political representative and ask him/her to explain why?

  • Morpheus

    I take you mean that we as a collective need to be asking our political representatives why – yes?

  • Mick Fealty

    And we as individual public commenters.

  • Dec


    The only example I gave was of Martin criticising SF. But if you read what I’ve said you will see that it is the whole PBNI I’m putting in the firing line, not just SF.

    Yeah, but SF are the only party named in the thread. Seriously Mick, you’re not really challenging the increasing perceptions about this site, are you?

  • Mick Fealty

    Dec, you know me longer than most here. When did you ever see me tell someone their notion of me or Slugger was wrong?

    I don’t like to duck a fight about stuff (as you know), but as for other people’s perceptions, that’s where I will happily bow out of my jumped up, e-pontiff role.

    I don’t care about what people think, and I’ve had it all. A Stoop, a moderate unionist, an Alliance party getalongerist, DUP apologist, and closet FFer.

    I even bumped into a Fine Gael TD last year who told me with a completely straight face that he thought I was a shill for SF.

    As it happens, I think SF has the longest journey in understand what the proper democratic relationship is for a politician to the police force.

    It serves no purpose not to say it, and the exchange with Martin demonstrates just how far they are from that understanding.

    But they are not the only ones.

    They weren’t the only ones during the war talking out of two sides of their mouth either ( The symbiotic relationship with the DUP may eventually give rise to something more functional.

    But not, I suspect, without some substantial disruption of this new business as usual.

  • Morpheus

    Elephant in the room time – are you of the school of thought that SF’s intentions on the PB are disingenuous and they only there to protect their own?

  • Neil

    I even bumped into a Fine Gael TD last year who told me with a completely straight face that he thought I was a shill for SF.


  • Mick Fealty


    “are you of the school of thought that SF’s intentions on the PB are disingenuous and they only there to protect their own?”


  • socaire

    How often have we heard the old mantra – but sure you can’t do without a police force? Usually from all right thinking people,btw. But in the 6 counties of Ireland we have still two police forces. The first looks after domestic disputes, thefts, car crime and other civic discontent but the second one is a political force pledged and funded to support the status quo. One can find the first ‘acceptable’ and the second very unacceptable. They represent two continually changing Venn diagrams where ‘civil’ criminals can be persuaded to help the political police who are a law unto themselves. In a normal country, citizens have a civic duty to support the police force of the state but only if they support the state. So, to say that the majority support the PSNI/RUC is not correct. They only support them -grudgingly at that – in their civil/civic role.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “I even bumped into a Fine Gael TD last year who told me with a completely straight face that he thought I was a shill for SF.”


  • > I’m sure it is only decent christian forbearance that stops the Chief Constable Matt Baggott from telling his political employers exactly what he thinks of them.

    Not sure anyone would encourage the outgoing Chief to ‘do a Paisley’ exit interview!

  • Mick Fealty

    Quite Alan!! Never ask a question you don’t want to hear the answer to.

  • IrelandNorth

    The Irish Times’ Dáil correspondent Miriam Lord yesterday referred to the current Gárda Commissioner’s peculiar penchant for using the possessive pronoun when referring to Án Gárda Síochána na h’Éireann (ÁGSÉ) – my force/my officers! Since the Chief Constable (CC) of the Police Service of Nth Ireland (PSNI) has announced his imminent retirement, this could open up a golden opportunity for an exchange of police supremos across either jurisdiction. A candidate from one jurisdiction leading the police force of the other would be bureaucratically ecumenical, as would greater recruitment from either jurisdiction for the police force of the other. Ex Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) CC Sir Hugh Annsley was a Dublin Protestant. And the 2nd Garda Commissioner, General Eoin O Duffy, was an Ulsterman from County Monaghan.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Matt Baggott and Policing
    Matt Baggott as head of police in N. Ireland found the heavy hand of policing on his shoulder in Irish History . The Irish Constabulary Act in the early 19th century established a police force in each province in Ireland under the control of Dublin Castle. Its purpose was dual: –
    1. To impose by force of arms the 1801 constitution.
    2. To maintain the King’s peace.
    It fulfilled its first role by putting down the Young Irelander’s rebellion of 1848 and the Fenian Uprising of 1867. For putting down the Fenian Uprising of 1867 Queen Victoria added the prefix Royal. In 1922 the Royal Irish Constabulary became the Royal Ulster Constabulary in N Ireland with the same dual purpose as the RIC.
    The name of the RUC was changed to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the GFA to appease Republicans but while the leopard changed its name its spots remained the same and the PSNI’s primary purpose was still to impose the constitution (1801) by force of arms. Matt Baggott had laudable plans for normal community policing but he found to his cost that policing in N. Ireland is first and foremost about the constitution.
    If policing is to change the Constitution will have to change. In the book —The Theoretical Solution of the British/Irish Problem—in Article 10 Policing—it is suggested that in the Federal Kingdom of Ireland policing should be structured as follows: –
    1. The National Police of Ireland — The Garda Síochána
    2. The Provincial Police Service of Ireland
    • The Royal Connaght Constabulary
    • The Royal Leinster Constabulary
    • The Royal Munster Constabulary
    • The Royal Ulster Constabulary
    This style of policing police structure is found in many countries throughout the world namely the USA Germany Australia Canada India and Brazil. In the suggested structure for Ireland the police would be constituted as the servants of the Irish/Provincial people they serve and whose duty is to enforce in a reasonable manner the civil law of the state. The matter of the constitution would be decided by a referendum of the people.
    Michael Gillespie

  • Richlinkedin



    In August 1997, as their part of three party control of police (?), Kent Police Authority called on their Chief constable for inquiry and report. This included into the arrests of 21 Territorial Army men in Kent 1987 and the circumstances there were not charged under Explosives, Firearms or Unlawful Drilling law.

    Inquiries now suggest that neither the CPS (Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 now repealed) nor the Attorney General (1936 public order act AG consent for police to prosecute) took the “Public Interest” nil action decision.

    You may recall that an allegation of 1987 was that the TA men had conducted missions to Ulster and Ireland.

    So the Police Authority path to answerability responded ten years later with a call on Chief constable Kent for inquiry and report.

    The Chief constable did not comply. So next was to try the Home Secretary path to answerability. December 1998.

    Jack Straw had still not responded in Spring 1999 when, nonetheless, Kent Chief constable David Phillips was deployed as an invigilator on the Rosemary Nelson murder case.

    I think it is to Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s credit that he queried, or sought to expedite Jack Straw’s decision, the week that in fact Sir David Phillips later left the Rosemary Nelson inquiry. When Jack Straw must have indicated that he would refuse to compel the inquiry called for by Kent Police Authority.

    When the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry set up its panel included former Gwent Chief constable Mr Burden. So I sent a submission which included declaration that I had once reported to him. Sabotage case.

    As I understood their terms of reference they were to look at whether there was any attempt to corrupt the Rosemary Nelson murder inquiry. And as far as I recall my unpublished submission passed the screening for admissibility. The facts seem self evident. At a time his police authority was calling for inquiry into right wing paramilitary collusion linked to alleged missions to Ireland, the Chief constable of Kent was deployed to the Rosemary Nelson case. By the time he deployed Jack Straw had been sitting 3 months on an application to compel that inquiry.

    In 2003 gen De Chasterlain sent the NI Office a report of concern. Whether his terms of reference GFA empowered him to investigate Kent Police and firearms supply and training in Kent. As far as I recall he was pointed to the argument that he was not to investigate HM security forces.

    If the activity within Kent TA had Crown Authority then why were two soldiers dishonourably discharged for allegedly organising it without Crown Authority in 1987 ?

    Constitution and Law of Treason. In 2009 a Judicial Review file was submitted to the Royal Courts of Justice against a decision of Mike Fuller Chief constable of Kent. This was about his decision not to investigate other paramilitary training based in Kent historically that was exposed 2008/2009 by Private Eye and later the Sun. Except this time Joan Walley MP had received a reply (Stoke MP) from Sec of State Defence that the Deal Barracks based activity 1976 et seq had no record of Crown authority.

    As you will already know Jack Straw Justice Secretary sort of found that a convenient time to repeal the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 !

    The Judicial Review file was stolen by person unknown from the Registry of the Royal Courts of Justice that was my information from the Court Registry. The file was taken and never re-appeared.

    Answerability ? The “Monarch in Parliament” is the senior law lord. And hence he must be the senior Justice who can be sent a Common Law Information of Treason. Lord Phillips of Maltravers. He refused to sign to acknowledge receipt of the mandatory Information. His secretary replied that “It would not be appropriate” That lovely catch all mean nothing phrase.

    As you will recall the Attorney General Baroness Scotland suddenly wanted Mike Fuller into a civil service position at CPS. And he left the Kent Police.

    You may also recall that in 2003, at about the time Gen De Chasterlain sent his report of concern to Ni Office, that David Blunkett suddenly wanted Kent Chief constable David Phillips into a senior position in privatised police training. And David left Kent Police.

    I have said that I would support the holding of a retrospective Article 2 Inquest for the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre. What surprised me, TBH, is that it seems that Gerry Adams would support the cause of a retrospective Article 2 inquest for the 11 Royal Marines murdered at Deal Barracks 1989.

    Whichever way you look at this something has gone seriously wrong. The Queen is the sole fount of justice in mercy. Policing, armed force and the admin of justice are by CROWN authority (Sir Richard Dannatt recently made this clear)

    And it seems an inevitable conclusion that our constitution failed to deliver judicial accessibility, primacy and independence. And part of that has to have been down to police failing to honour Crown Authority.

    It seems to me it wasn’t the tragedy in Northern Ireland alone that made the UK drag itself into the gutter of treason (undermining their own rule of law).

    But the people of Warrington, for example, represent for me a light of hope. After a terrorist bombing those people of good will reached out for peace …..

    But IMO a constitutional and answerability debate must occur across the UK.

  • Richlinkedin

    Mick if you publish my earlier comment.

    In 1990 the EU passed a resolution on member states to dismantle all unauthorised military groups.

    You probably know that the Belgian Senate complied and, in the 28 Supermarket murders terrorism cases, ended up investigating their own police para-commando units?

    The question Joan Walley MP put to Sec of State see above Defence was accompanied by photos of a training mission, from Deal Barracks, to train or liaise with Belgian Police Para Commando Units 1982. In the photos taken in Brussels there are Royal Marines Reserve, one Royal Marine (now willing to give evidence if police call, and uniformed English Police.

    The UK did not comply with the EU Resolution of 1990. This was queried by Michael Cashman MEP in recent years who found that the resolution was not binding on member states. Belgium complied but UK did not. In spite of obvious lines of inquiry in the Belgian Senate process that should have found supportive inquiries and reports from Kent.

    On the face of it UK was tested in 1990 and found that it somehow didn’t mind private armies in spite of laws like the Unlawful Drilling Act making them anyway unlawful.

    What is Loyalism ? A loyalty to the Queen, the flag and the constitutional monarchy that safeguards the rule of law and rights to peace ? Or loyalty to whoever hijacked the previous constitutional arrangements on their cause of their ends justifying their means?

  • Comrade Stalin


    What a load of old horse.

    The constitution no longer needs to be “imposed”. It is accepted – stress “accepted” – almost universally throughout Ireland.

  • Charles_Gould

    I have been impressed by the civility and helpfulness of individual PSNI officers.

    I would like to see them introduce a Mounted Police division. There are mounted police that walk around in London and it really is quite an enjoyable spectacle.

  • Neil

    Reported many crimes Charles? Would you consider it helpful if you caught a thief in your yard, one you recognised, and the police told you nothing could be done as the thief had posted the stolen material through your letterbox? ‘It’s not theft, you have the stuff’. The fact that it was part of a motorcycle and required the attention of a mechanic didn’t count for anything. Although they did lie to me in a very civilised fashion.

    I’ve had plenty of dealings with them, they were not helpful in the least. They recruit the criminals in my area to harvest information in exchange for not arresting them which kind of sucks if you’re a victim of crime. The criminals around here are untouchable, the cops want the info and the criminals know it. reporting crime just emboldens the criminals as they see they can get away with pretty much anything.

  • “This style of policing police structure is found in many countries throughout the world namely the USA Germany Australia Canada India and Brazil.”

    Actually in the USA policing is mainly carried out at the municipal or county level. Most states have highway patrol forces but they are basically traffic police with arrest powers limited to highways. Some states have a state version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or state crime labs. At the federal level a number of various police agencies investigate and enforce federal laws but I would guess that well over 95% of arrests and enforcement takes place at the municipal or county levels.

  • Richlinkedin

    You could test whether constitution is a load of old horse.

    Hold parish elections, vote for and swear in your own constables.

    That is what the miners should have done in 84.

    I mentioned the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819. Is it repealed for Northern Ireland ?

    The House of Lords said it was OK to repeal it because the 1936 Public Order Act has it covered. Does ir ? Under the 1936 Act the Attorney General has first to consent to the prosecution of a paramilitary group.

    Hence govt can put private armies, not of the Crown, above the law of the Crown.

    The Office of Constable is an independent ministerial office of the Crown. The monarch remains bound since Magna Carta and by Coronation Oath to appoint as constables only those who know the law of the Realm and are minded to keep it well.

    The power of govt to appoint constables is not so much on loan from the monarch as on loan from the people who consent by defaulting annually on their right to hold elections for constables.

    In 1987 in Kent person unknown took a decision not to prosecute 21 TA soldiers for firearms, Ulster and Ireland unlawful deployments, forged UDR ID cards, explosives.

    Kent Police gave a press release that they had wished to prosecute but felt the Army had undermined them. We now find that neither Attorney General nor CPS seem to have been involved in the nil prosecution decision.

    But AFTER the decision not to prosecute Kent Police made further inquiries. NOT with a view to making a better case for the courts. No they made inquiries requested by the Intelligence Corps at Ashford Kent.

    The constable’s only master is the law itself ? But yet de facto they were bending their knee and serving the secret wonts of a possibly rogue section of Army Intelligence.

    We need a debate across UK. If policing is to be carried out under statute law authority (as seems to be the way PSNI is going) then we need our overarching Common Law safeguard possibly a beefed up IPCC who would be constables whilst police, PSNI style, become enhanced PCSOs.

  • tacapall

    @ Richlinkedin

    “In 1987 in Kent person unknown took a decision not to prosecute 21 TA soldiers for firearms, Ulster and Ireland unlawful deployments, forged UDR ID cards, explosives

    We now find that neither Attorney General nor CPS seem to have been involved in the nil prosecution decision”

    Interesting but a little unclear can you be a bit more specific.

  • Richlinkedin

    Thanks. The Attorney General was sent an FOI. The response seemed to indicate that his office did not take a decision in 1987 to forbid Kent Police to prosecute (the 1936 Act)

    It appears now that arrests were initially made at Broad Oak Kent under Firearms Law. But that some difficulty arose so Kent Police used the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819. It was that Act they were stymied, according to their press release broadcast on Invicta Radio, by the Army.

    The only inference I can put on that is that the Army indicated to Kent Police that the TA men had Crown Authority and had thus not broken the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819.

    If that was the case then why were the two men who allegedly organised the paramilitary activity, dishonourably discharged ?

    With regard to the terrorist bombing of Deal Royal Marines Barracks 1989. Kent Police had been given a number of crime complaints and breach of security warnings in 88/89 arising from the TA Paramilitary arrests case.

    These warnings are not listed in the Admiralty Board of Inquiry report to govt.

    If terrorists are ever charged for this bombing what would the CPS have to disclose to the defence ? I don’t know. But as far as I know the CPS holds a report of the 1987 arrests case, the warnings and crime complaints which flowed (which Kent Police refused to action) to cross refer if ever a prosecution case is presented to them. It appears that this report of concern from a member of the public, after the 1997 Kent Police Authority call for inquiry and report was refused by Sir David Phillips, was the first CPS knew about the 21 arrests of TA men in 1987 !

    Hence why I say “Person unknown” took the nil prosecution decision because it was not apparently CPS or Attorney General.

    As I understand it when author Pat Monteath researched for his books of faction, he got access to forged UDR ID cards and UDR enlistment documentation held by the Kent solicitor of one of the two TA men who were dishonourably discharged.

    One of the crime complaints in 1988 not actioned by Kent Police was about a Reliance Security Guard at Deal Barracks and a claim for welfare benefits from the REME Assn. A check of REME records could not verify he had ever served in the Army.

    He had the year before tried to join the TA unit to join associates involved in the paramilitary activity. But his REME service claims had also on that occasion failed to verify.

    In fact Kent Police never raised a check with REME Corps Secretariat into this matter of a forged REME Record. Just as they never seized as evidence forged UDR IDcards and documentation it seems. The first check on REME Records was raised in 1998 by the same man who reported concerns to CPS. And after a check REME called in MOD Police but nothing more was said.

    Trying to relate this to the thread. Mick wrote about “Political masters” who can sack a Chief constable. That ain’t how it is meant to be. For a constable he is individually criminally answerable to the Queen for the discharge of duty.

    But what I am looking at in the extensive history in Kent is what political masters ? What Crown authority ? What judicial access ?

    In 1990 the EU trespassed into the area with its resolution on member states to dismantle all unauthorised military groups. UK did not comply. Clearly with the history of missions from Deal Barracks 1982 et seq to liaise and train with Belgian Police para commando units it would be reasonable to expect Kent Police to have pursued inquiries in support of the Belgian Senate investigating its own police para commandos (The 28 terrorist supermarket murders).

    Where and how do we get accountability and answerability of police ? The authority of the Crown seems to have been bypassed, the public interest custodianship powers of govt law officers ignored, unlawful control of police inquiry by Ashford Army Intelligence established, the Police Authority calls for report snubbed. There was even a refusal to comply with a request of an HM Coroner to re-investigate a 1979 sudden death.

    It may be that the role of the State in failing to protect life should be examined by a retrospective Article 2 inquest into the 1989 Deal barracks bombing. The BIRW, who appear to set much store by FRU’s Martin Ingram, seem dead set against questioning this history in Kent.

    In 2003 Gen De Chasterlain queried his terms of ref to see if he could deploy the arms decommissioners to Kent to examine the history of Kent Police firearms cert issues and their history of “Policing” Broad Oak former quarries, and licensed ranges in Thanet and Dartford.

    He was blockered on the argument he was prevented from investigating Crown authorised security operations. Oh ? So where did this LAWFUL Crown authority emerge then ? Ashford ?

    The Reliance Guard with the questionable Army record used to clear civilian security vetting ? Reliance gave him a good reference to leave to another job. And he and all of the above were exempted from inquiry in the bombing case.

    I have set out above the interaction this matter had in the Rosemary Nelson murder inquiry.

    In a report to Lord Carlile and the independent QC who monitors terrorism law, 4 months ago, the warnings given to Kent Police prior to the 1989 bombing are listed. IIRC there are 41 warning lines of inquiry. They are colour coded for the involvement (nil action decisions) of one Kent DI (who eventually retired as a Det Ch Supt). All 41 nil actions are by that officer. He was case officer (nil action) for the 1987 arrests of 21 TA men. He was the officer who gave the press release blaming Army for his failure to prosecute. He was then the officer who conducted further inquiries for Army Intelligence Ashford. IE Using his constable position to serve Ashford but not his master the law itself.

    Hope that helps

  • Richlinkedin


    If I add that Lord Carlile QC opinion on the abovge mentioned report is that it is NOT conspiracy theory. He doubts the report could stand in a Court of Law.

    My position is that The objective of the report could never be to present a prima facie case for prosecution. But it can make a compelling case that inquiry is meritted in the public interest.

    One question for example is Sections 54 and 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Kent Chief constable ? Say he reads the press reports about live fire training with Uzis at Yetgoch Wales. And he recognises names from that press report. Names previously associated with Kent Gun Ranges his force had somehow avoided policing for decades.

    Does the law of mandatory reporting of knowledge to a constable somehow not apply to the Chief constable of Kent ?

    Wasn’t he under a duty to report his knowledge to the Chief constable of Dyfed Powys ?

    Lord Carlile QC actually took exactly the opposite position to that used in the past by Jane Winter then of BIRW.

    I am in danger of thread stealing Mick. I was trying to relate the history (and current report to Lord Carlile and the independent QC) to the question of what system of accountability do we really have. I think a national debate is required

  • tacapall

    “Hence govt can put private armies, not of the Crown, above the law of the Crown”

    This has been happening in the six counties since the formation of this state. We had the RUC and B Specials who were the public face of the government forces of law and order but the UVF evolved into the covert military arm of the same government and who’s terrorist activities were ignored, encouraged, directed, controlled and even jointly carried out with members of the RUC and the then disbanded B Specials renamed the UDR. Of course this was all carried out in the name of the crown but of course the government refuses to acknowledge this fact but yet also drags its feet in relation to actually bringing charges against those responsible.

    Perhaps you could direct your questions to Jeffery Donaldson he was a Corporal in the UDR and is now an MP and member of the Privy council but im sure he will give you the default unionist, Tory politician position – A few bad apples.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Neil – you can make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman on the grounds of failure to properly investigate a crime.

    Charles, for pete’s sake, it’s not the role of the police to be some sort of “spectacle” for people to gawp at. Please talk sense.

    As for the other comments .. we’ve clearly descended into the twilight zone.

  • Richlinkedin

    Thanks. You are making a bit of a begging the question fallacy. You propose that private armies were a state asset and conclude that criminality by private armies was sanctioned by the state on no other evidence than your own opening proposition.

    If I can give a bit more detail. In about 2003 a Det sgt in PSNI Special Branch called for a report to be collated in East Kent by a secretary of a Royal British Legion branch who was a former officer with UDR.

    Bearing in mind that neither Kent Police, nor apparently the PSNI junior SB officer, knew that Sir Ronnie Flanagan had obtained and held such a detail report since Kent’s Sir David Phillips left the Rosemary Nelson case in 99.

    What happened in 2003 was that a Supt of Kent Police tried to use first warnings under the Protection from Harassment Act to stop the report, which named Kent Police officers, being compiled and sent to the PSNI Special Branch. The report was compiled and sent as requested.

    So the history 1999 (Rosemary Nelson case) and 2003 seems to be that RUC/PSNI were far from colluding with state agencies or other police forces. RUC/PSNI appears to have been kept in the dark by the Home Office and Kent Chief constables.

    In fact the first complaint to Kent Police, I am aware of, of paramilitary training with unlawful weapons was late 1960s. Nil action. Long before my time.

    My opinion is that we need legislation in the area of police accountability and in the monopoly of Crown authority for armed force. I haven’t had a response from the independent QC yet but I set out some of Lord Carlile’s response above.

    One of the concerned people in this history was the late John Allen of Ramsgate. David Trimble sent condolences for the loss of old John in 2002. John was instrumental in persuading Home Secretary for a change of police answerability law. Creation of IPCC. Inadequate but it ended the power of Chief constables to veto crime complaint against their own officers.

  • Michael Gillespie

    The constitution is accepted almost uiniversally trhroughout Ireland

    I have noted recently in Slugger, statistical research which I carried out in schools in Derry which makes clear that 12 year pupils in schools in the city are polatized and are at loggerheads over the constitution. Is that a load of old horse?

  • tacapall

    “Thanks. You are making a bit of a begging the question fallacy. You propose that private armies were a state asset and conclude that criminality by private armies was sanctioned by the state on no other evidence than your own opening proposition”

    Richlinkedin thanks for your response. My propositions are based on fact have you read Lethal Allies by Anne Cadwallader her research for the book is based on the various reports carried out by her majesty’s historical enquiry team who investigated hundreds of murders over the last forty years or what about the De Silva report. I could post you up evidence of state servants controlling paid state assets to engage in the murder of innocent citizens of this state.

  • Richlinkedin

    Thank you. I must confess I must be of the twilight zone I reckon !

    Although I think Lord Bingham gets the credit for invention of Article 2 Inquests I rather think that was me. Going back some decades. It was an argument made to ECHR after being made, fruitlessly, to Attorney General.

    It argued that the right to life cannot truly exist unless there is concurrent certainty of proper sudden death inquiry by constables. And that Inquests must incorporate Article 2 of the ECHR.

    The case itself was ruled later inadmissible in ECHR because domestic inquests are not subject to the jurisdiction of Article 6.

    So out of our non-academic efforts in the twilight zone came ideas for Article 2 inquests and for creation of IPCC.

    So I don’t doubt that you are correct that state servants have killed people. The problem I had (and still have) is establishing that organisations and persons were state assets. In the case in which argument was first made that Article 2 should be incorporated into Inquest Law, I have no doubt the organisation and its leaders were state assets. In the sense of say MI6. I have no doubt that there was a national reporting and corruption exercise ran via Special Branch liaison undermining lawful police inquiries. (In fact evidence for this has been with Attorney General for decades)

    The difference with the Kent history set out above is that I doubt the participants were state assets. It seems more to have been the case that crime complaints were refused by the Police. Complaints made by the public in which essentially the state was the victim.

    No one outside judiciary will ever get the truth of the history.

    So rather like IPCC and Article 2 inquests the quest is for a remedy that protects future generations from the shortcomings of the past. The recommendations made are that a Duties to the Realm Act incorporate all statutory and common law duties to report knowledge or suspicion to a constable. (Terrorism, Proceeds of Crime, Misprision of Treason) and that the act extend a new duty to report upon police forces such that they cannot bury the flow of information and crime complaint. That it become a duty of HMI of Constabulary to receive and monitor all mandatory information given to police. And there are recommendations to amend Health and Safety at Work Act.

    Since the submission of the report about four months ago there has been a witness come forward. And as a result inquiry has been raised by the Nuclear watchdog into civil nuclear power plant. My view is that even a dirty state wouldn’t stoop to nobbling its own power plant.

    The 2001 act makes further explanation tricky as it might break the law.

    I’ll leave it there. I was dismayed at Mick’s opening that suggests Chief constables have political masters who can sack them etc. We have to have a better system than trusting politicians with control of policing.

    Well back to the twilight zone then. Best wishes

  • Comrade Stalin


    Rather than surveying teenagers to measure the state of public opinion in the country I prefer to use the elections. With one or two exceptions, every single elected representative across the island of Ireland accepts (or, if you prefer, “tolerates”) the constitutional status quo and the democratic means by which it may be changed.

    So all that stuff about the police imposing it by force is a load of irrelevant bollocks.


    You seem to be referring to policing legislation (such as the IPCC and to some extent the HMIC) which does not apply in Northern Ireland.

  • Richlinkedin

    Thank you. Yes I am talking about IPCC creation and Article 2 inquest creation and a recommended additional role of HMIC that does not yet exist.

    I was trying to explain that there has long been an effort to create remedies that do relate to the whole of UK and Northern Ireland. And to say that the efforts seem not to have been without success. Because we now have a IPCC (such as it is) and we have Article 2 inquests.

    The problem, I have found no solution to, is trying to make an argument at the same time as challenge long held versions of reality.

    OK. If I say that Gen De Chasterlain’s report of concern to the NI Secretary in 2003 extended beyond bomb and bullet and whether the decommissioners could deploy to Kent. It asked, as I understand it, why the decommissioning terms of GFA had excluded other planned terrorist weapons systems.

    Especially given the events at Dounreay and Hunterston B in the GFA year 1998.

    With Hunterston B it was the weather what done it. Provoked a shut down which the plant darn nigh couldn’t make. But two years earlier it was darn nigh the IRA what would have done it for London and South East.

    But I don’t think the IRA knew what the consequence of their attempted 1996 attack would have been any more than the weather in Scotland would have known.

    It seems technically probable, in my electrical engineering opinion, that nuclear power plant emergency shut down provision was already compromised. And not by IRA.

    The Scottish energy minister called for a report, from me, about 2003 and on reading it he called in Nuclear Constabulary presumably to second guess the nuclear inspectorate report into the 1998, 2000 and 2001 incidents at Dounreay and Hunterston.

    I think that after a report to DTI Civil nuclear security the matters went to Homeland Security where I think Mr Blunkett was Home Sec at the time and he appeared to rely on reports from Kent Chief constable that inquiry was not meritted (Re a Kent based manufacturer in the nuclear industry supply and service chain).

    His successor Mike Fuller refused to sign a High Court statement of truth in about 2007 in effect that his predecessor had told the Home Secretary the truth. Mr Fuller also refused to sign a High Court statement of truth that no sabotage had occurred. Neither would he sign a High Court statement of truth that Kent Police had actually made inquiry. Neither would he explain why his force refused a crime complaint in 1987 and ever since. (It was one of the crime complaints in the 41 complaints in the security warnings on Deal barracks)

    In fact the first report of sabotage was made within the company by an engineer in 1981.

    And the company did not issue a product recall or customer safety notice. They sold out to an overseas holding company.

    James Arbuthnot MP was tied up in this history away back. As a DTI minister and as a Defence Procurement minister.

    Back then early 90s the USA was eviscerating a number of UK Defence manufacturers in the US courts. Falsifying factory test records supplying sub standard equipment to US Forces. So landing on Arbuthnot’s desk was a report of inquiry into suspected sabotage of torpedo and sonar manufacture together with a report on sabotage and company fraud by test falsification in the supply of equipment to the nuclear industry.As welcome as a hole in the minister head ………..

    I can tell you that MOD Procurement used two experts who agreed the findings re torpedo manufacture.

    I can tell you the Chief constable whose Force Special Branch were sent the reports and who transferred their case to MOD Police after Mr Arbuthnot’s involvement. Gwent under Mr Burden who would years later feature in the Rosemary Nelson tribunal.

    Lord Carlile opinion now is that surely time would have resolved the threat (nuclear criticality) as equipment was repaired and replaced by natural process. I infer he sought of accepts that govt and police did not address the threat. But thank goodness good old Pc Time Alone was on duty all along eh.

    So it couldn’t have happened better. A week after the learned Lord committed to an opinion a very highly qualified engineer finally came forward. Whoops.

    And for the first time in a long and sorry history inquiry has been raised independent of Kent Police. Technical inquiry.

    At long last. That engineer would have reported a suspect package in a heartbeat. But had never in his career previously associated anomalous technical situations, he encountered, with the terrorist threat.

    Which is why I argue that the word terrorism is like “Inappropriate” it is meaningless by overuse.

    And that a duties to the realm or a duties to the people basis is needed for new legislation.

    The extra reporting duties in such law would apply in Northern Ireland.

    There I tried to set out that all the procedures and Ombudsmen and Truth and reconciliation commissions and the rest did not deliver safety and security to the people.

    We have to “Impose” duties on the people to secure their rights. And we have to impose reporting and response duties on all police forces. Not by Home Office guidelines. Clearly defined in law which makes it a criminal offence to fail to fulfil a duty to report. Rights have to be founded on duties.

    There is terrorism law pertaining to civil nuclear security and what can be said and that is as far as I will go with this one.

    Best wishes

  • Michael Gillespie

    Statistically based valid research has to be noted. To say that the constitution is settled is Peter Robinson DUP propaganda. The people of N Ireland are polarised over the constitution just as 12 year old pupils in Derry are. Every election demonstrates that. Why are the PSNI armed to the teeth.

  • Seamuscamp

    Mick F

    Why do you quote Michael Martin? He is clearly attacking SF for a Southern audience – and doing it badly. If he were to say that London Assembly members should not comment on stop-and-search because it would undermine police, would you approve? Representatives are community representatives not Police representatives – leave that to the Federation.

    There are indeed representatives who continually seek to undermine the Police. It is daft to suggest that this is mainly (or even equally) the fault of SF is misrepresentation.

    ” But let’s also remember that if you don’t name a thing, it doesn’t actually exist.” Very subtle. You should pass that on to Grasshopper. But your real problem, Mick, is that anything bad you see that you don’t know the name of, you call it SF.

  • “that stops the Chief Constable Matt Baggott from telling his political employers exactly what he thinks of them.”

    Do the problems (just) lie with the political representatives on the Policing Board or should we look elsewhere? The Patten Establishment figures get mentioned twice and within a week of each the DCC and CC announce their retirements. When I mentioned the significant deficit of constables back in 2009 [460], the Patten Established figures for ‘peace-time’ policing from PSNI manpower statistics disappeared the following month. The growing deficit seemingly only necessitated a ‘survival’ plan in December 2013 yet one month later, following some tinkering with the Patten figures, the Secretary of State was able to claim that the 800 shortfall of officers was a trifling 180 and she remained ‘optimistic about the ongoing discussions between the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Department of Justice about resolving that budgetary shortfall’. Budget pruning, the dissident IRA threat and street disorder linked to our ongoing constitutional tug-of-war bode ill for future PSNI senior management.

  • IrelandNorth

    The unemployed often complain that they can’t get a job because they’ve no experience. And they can’t get experience because they’ve no job. Somewhat of a chicken and egg conundrum. Yet, like solutions to the most complicated problems, the answer is relatively straighforward. David Ford should get on to his southern counterpart Alan Shatter, and suggest that current Deputy Assistant Chief Constable (DACC) of the the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Judith Gillespie, be considered for the position of Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Án Gárda Síochána na h’Éireann (ÁGSÉ) for the requisite period to qualify her as PSNI/CC. Matt Baggot’s successor could be contracted for two years. Then if DACC/DC Gillespie wished to head up ÁGSÉ, Commissioner Callanan may have retired in the intervening years. The Commissioners current deputy might equally be seconded to the PSNI for like period. This would not only be good for gender equality, but would go a long way to challenge patriarchal culture in both police forces on the Island.