Space to Police

Simon Byrne is the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Today he writes for Slugger about the policing challenges during the COVID 19 pandemic  2021 is a defining year for policing. The Police Service of Northern Ireland will have been around for two decades. The world around us has changed so much in those 20 years and whilst new opportunities and issues have emerged, the challenges of the past still remain very much in the present for …

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PSNI blunder into PR disaster of their own making…

You really do wonder what the police were thinking yesterday when they blundered their way into a private commemoration of the 29th anniversary of 1992 Sean Graham bookmakers atrocity. As well as disturbing the event they decided to go even further and arrest one of the victims. Such gross insensitivity you could not make up. Coming just days after the police stood idle and watched dozens of UVF men parading in East Belfast, the police have opened themselves up to …

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Phoney Polish peeler gets himself into a pickle with the proper police…

A story in today’s Irish News provides a bit of a distraction from the unending doom: A 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer in Co Armagh. Police said an off-duty officer reported being pulled over on the M1 at Craigavon towards Portadown at around 1am by a vehicle he believed to be a police car. The driver of the unmarked grey Skoda Superb registration FT62 CEX which had been fitted with blue flashing lights, …

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‘A united Ireland that is socially liberally, tolerant, European and economically successful is attractive’

Irish unity could be an attractive option if the new nation is socially liberal, outward looking, multi-cultural, European and economically successfully, while respecting both the Irish and British cultures and traditions, believes Will Glendinning. To be economically successful it may need support from both the European Union and the United States, he adds. Will is a former chief executive of the Community Relations Council, has been an Alliance Party MLA for West Belfast and was also a member of the …

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‘Politicians will argue, they will fight over it and they will come up with reasons for not dealing with the past’

It was hoped that the Patten reforms would herald a new start for policing in Northern Ireland, but, argues Denis Bradley, the PSNI remains burdened with its legacy from the old RUC. Denis is a former vice-chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and co-chair of the Consultative Group on the Past. He was talking in the latest Forward Together podcast from the Holywell Trust. “In the setting-up of the PSNI, the new service inherited, carried with it, the deeds …

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Alliance conference in party mood despite leader’s absence #APNI2020

Alliance delegates gathered again in the Stormont Hotel for their annual conference, marking the 50th anniversary of the party’s formation and celebrating a year of growing success at three successive elections (local, European and Westminster). The mood was upbeat, attendance was strong, yellow clothing was prevalent, and while there are no elections just around the corner to fire up the crowd, there was a sense of achievement and satisfaction at the party’s fortunes.

Three figures were notably absent including party leader Naomi Long who had been diagnosed with a severe respiratory infection and was on bed rest and fluids under doctor’s orders. Deputy leader Stephen Farry delivered the conference main speech which also held from PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, former Secretary of State Julian Smith, and young councillors.

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: it will be the failure of our generation if we do not reinvigorate our efforts

With only seven and a half weeks left of his five year term as PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton delivered a lecture at Queen’s University this evening to “help signpost the next steps for policing with the community”. He called out those “across the political spectrum … [who] have too often defaulted to the blame game … finding it easier to blame the police without taking any responsibility for the context in which police are being asked to operate”. Hamilton …

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“we need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing…”

A timely reminder, should one be needed, from Newton Emerson in the Irish Times this week, that when Sinn Féin talk about ‘agreement’ on the “need to remove legacy policing from contemporary policing” what they mean is “No prosecutions, please.”  From Newton Emerson in the Irish Times It is all or nothing on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles. Either all sides must face the same prospect of prosecutions and convictions, or all sides must be given an amnesty …

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Just Say Momo – how the PSNI are helping to spread hoaxes and hysteria online

If you are a member of any parents’ social media groups, then you might have heard of “Momo”, apparently a game that challenges children to perform dangerous tasks. The story is often accompanied by a horrifying picture, which is actually a sculpture created by a Japanese special effects company called Link Factory. The story is a well-known hoax, and the urban legend debunking site Snopes article has an excellent article on the subject. At the time of writing, the hoax …

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“Fair employment and equal opportunities legislation are built upon open and transparent practices, free from political interference…”

The, at best, ill-considered comments by Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald yesterday, on potential candidates from within the PSNI to succeed George Hamilton as Chief Constable, have prompted a sharp reminder from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to the NI Policing Board of its responsibilities under equality legislation to recruit in a non-discriminatory way. The Equality Commission has expressed its concern about the recent comments made by the Sinn Féin President about the appointment of a new Chief …

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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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With 80% of police recruits now coming from the Unionist community, is this another example of how Northern Ireland is regressing?

The Irish Times is reporting that the number of Nationalists joining the PSNI is continuing to decline, and they may need to reinstate the 50/50 recruitment policy. Four out of five recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are from the Protestant community compared to just one from the Catholic community, the PSNI has disclosed. If this trend continues then politicians will have to consider reinstituting the 50:50 Catholic:Protestant system of recruitment, the PSNI deputy chief constable Stephen Martin indicated on Monday. Under …

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Did PSNI just change the script?

One standout take-away from the Belfast Telegraph’s ‘BelTelBomber’ piece was an unexpected response from police which cut to the very core of how large organisations deal with the media in two interesting ways. Firstly, a recap: the Belfast Telegraph’s story followed up on the Manchester bombing by sending a reporter to visit local tourist attractions, complete with a backpack, to check if he could do so without any checks. The newspaper’s front page was given over to the piece along …

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Fake News and False Balance undermine Victims’ Human Rights

Last weekend was the second anniversary of the rightsinfo.org website. To mark the event, a panel discussion took place during which the site’s founder Adam Wagner stated that “fake news was old news in human rights” and that people “have been convinced by newspapers for years and years that human rights are a villain.” He was joined at the panel discussion by Buzzfeed Special Correspondent James Ball who said “The bigger problem is…essentially the much wider ecosystem of material which …

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We missed out on Cressida Dick but the links between the NI police and the Met are strong

Congratulations to Cressida Dick who has overcome the pain and controversy of being the  Gold commander in the operation which led to the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, to become the first woman Commissioner of the Met.  The Policing Board  here passed  her over for Chief Constable in 2014, preferring George Hamilton as  the first local man to head up the PSNI. Gender therefore isn’t everything, although her application suggested that the PSNI job could still …

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Shame on the politicians for allowing the PSNI to become the victims of a tabloid firestorm over army prosecutions

A tabloid storm  blown up  by the Sun and the Mail with the Daily Telegraph in tow  has been set off to save  hundreds, perhaps thousands of “our boys” – the soldiers who served in the Troubles – from the “ witch hunt” of being singled out as a class for prosecution as a result of Army action in the Troubles. The surge probably owes more to  the  establishment campaign against prosecutions over Iraq – one case now being  the …

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90% of the individuals admitted to PSNI custody suites have mental health problems

An eye-popping statistic emerged during the PSNI 15 Years On conference this week. While reflecting on the complex web of causal factors surrounding crime we learnt that ninety percent of the individuals admitted to PSNI custody suites had mental health problems.  Ninety percent.  Many had self harmed, some were at risk of suicide.  This raises the question -is the custody suite the correct place in which to detain these people?  Would an acute mental health assessment unit not be a …

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How Twitter is taking us beyond the PSNI’s closed doors

A quick one: over on his own blog a writer who describes himself on Twitter as a PSNI officer has just published a rarely-seen (WARNING – EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) glimpse into what are presented as some of the hardest days of a currently-serving police officer. For many years, Police Service of Northern Ireland social media policy for work social posts and security concerns for personal posts kept this kind of look at life beyond the PR hashtags and taglines to a …

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‘Crime Boy I Dunno’ Comparing stats between St Patrick’s Day and 12th July

Brendan Hughes from the Irish News has an interesting story in today’s Irish News about the level of crime reported during St Patrick’s Day and the 12th July from the 2009-2015 period where he finds little difference between the two events. In his examination he reports; We also studied figures for the 36-hour period surrounding each date – from 6pm on March 16 and July 11, to 6am on March 18 and July 13. The Twelfth comes out on top …

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