Not a great week for the police…

police, cop, police uniforms

The Sarah Everard murder is the stuff of nightmares. A serving police officer, Wayne Couzens showed a warrant card and used handcuffs as he kidnapped Ms Everard before her rape and murder. Thankfully he was caught fairly quickly and he will spend the rest of his days behind bars. But the Met has a lot to do to restore public confidence in the police, especially amongst women. If you have not watched it yet the BBC documentary Bent Coppers: Crossing …

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The uneasy relationship between unionists and the RIC…

Dr Adrian Grant is a Lecturer in Policy at UU Opinion: the complexity of events in Ireland a century ago does not lend itself to generalised statements about unionist history The extent of the recent controversy around the proposed state commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police was largely unexpected. Some went so far as to say it contributed to Fine Gael’s poor showing in the February general election. Much has been written about this …

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While Trump plays with matches, the USA is a tinderbox…

Before the big pause, I was amazed at how Trump had managed to get through three years of his presidency without any major catastrophes. He has had an entire stream of smaller scandals that would have taken down a less shameless leader but he managed to bumble through. In a strange way, I admire Trump. To be able to look people in the eye and tell such barefaced lies is a real skill. To be caught telling over 5000 lies …

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Reflection on Attestation Ceremony of latest PSNI Constables – an occasion of hope…

During August, I attended an attestation ceremony for the latest PSNI constables in the police college at Garneville. It was my first time both in the college and at the ceremony. The attestation took place in the assembly hall where the soon to be constables, their families and guests gathered. I found it formal without being overly formal and felt sufficiently at ease to make notes on what I would call the ‘Order of Service’ for the occasion. After introductions, …

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George Hamilton, Chief Constable of the Police Service announces his retirement…

Northern Ireland’s top cop has said he will retire in June. From his Twitter post: I have today informed @NIPolicingBoard of my intention to retire at the end of June. It’s been a huge honour to have served the public through policing for almost 34 years & undoubtedly the greatest privilege of my career has been to serve as Chief Constable of @PoliceServiceNI — Sir George Hamilton (@SirGHamilton) January 28, 2019 According to his Wikipedia page, he is only 51, …

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“Touting” and the ethics of gathering information…

A number of years ago the Andersonstown News carried on a front page headline the phrase: “Ten Pound Touts.”  “Ten Pounds Touts” was a reference to what was perceived at the time (and indeed is still perceived by some people) as the practice by the RUC/PSNI of recruiting as informers (touts) young people involved in car crime, anti-social behaviour, or low level crime. These youths were/are given small amounts of money for doing this – allegedly as little as a …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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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 …

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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 Gonzosluggerotoole.com