That day in 1983 when they bombed Andersonstown RUC Station…

Our Primary 7 classroom shook silently for a second before the noise reached our ears. When it did, it was a low thud followed by a deafening grumble. We all knew what it was; we’d heard many explosions before. After the blast I turned towards the window of the classroom which looked out onto the Glen Road. Someone shouted, ‘That’ll be the barracks again.’ The Andersonstown RUC Station, known locally as ‘the barracks’ would become one of the most bombed … Read more

PSNI in 2016: Some hard choices we now need to make?

The Patten Report of 1999 famously led to the formation of the PSNI through a total of 175 recommendations covering a string of areas from human rights and oversight to – of course – the very name, size and composition of the organisation. With an Oversight Commissioner, Police Ombudsman, new District Policing Partnerships and a central Policing Board (and their associated costs) soon in place, Hugh Orde would often remark that his force had become the most accountable policing body in the … Read more

Theresa May’s political earthquake

This week has already seen a political earthquake nothing to do with UKIP or elections. On Wednesday Theresa May addressed the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth. Frequently Home Secretaries have received a tough time form the Police Federation: heckling, laughter, slow hand claps and other forms of open scorn have all been inflicted on Labour Home Secretaries. May a thin, yet matronly figure (though she has no children) with a fondness for conservatively fashionable clothes and designer shoes (a … Read more

A cold house for Roma

A week ago, Greek police searching a Roma camp discovered a child who looked as though she didn’t belong there. DNA testing proved them – at least in biological terms – correct.

An Garda Síochána were not so lucky.

Read moreA cold house for Roma

Born and live in London, brought up in Dublin, roots in East Belfast. Occasional blogging at and far more frequent tweets at

Londonderry born imperial policeman remembered

Many thanks to my old colleague Kevin Connolly, BBC Middle East correspondent  and a former Ireland correspondent for keeping his old antennae in good working order to discover the remarkable character of Londonderry born Sir Charles Tegart, commissioner of police in colonial India and Palestine. As Kevin says, they don’t make them like  that any more. I don’t know the name – I wonder if anyone out there does? Brian WalkerFormer BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor … Read more

Stepping Hill Hospital, nurses, the police and the media

After all the recent scandals involving the press one might hope that they are being careful to avoid the assorted pitfalls they fall into with such frequency. More likely, however, than a collective discovery of higher journalistic and editorial standards is that the fear of the current Leveson Inquiry is temporarily keeping them from the more egregious examples of the past. Last year there was the case of Rebecca Leighton the nurse who was accused of murdering patients at Stepping … Read more

A Bonefire In An Empty Space…?

IF you’re stuck at the desk over lunch and need a laugh, check out PSNI West Belfast’s Facebook page. There are some gems of posts, such this possible attempt at haiku below. Profound. But fair play to the poor sod that gets lumbered with replying! Stroaking The Wood From The Bru In Andytonw. Wat Harm Is There Liting. A Bonefire In An Empty Space? Belfast Gonzo