Checkpoints 'are deterring dissidents'

Published Tuesday, 10 December 2013
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Police have stopped almost 2,000 vehicles at checkpoints in Belfast amid efforts to curb the recent rise in dissident republican activity.

Checkpoints 'are deterring dissidents'
The scene of the bomb attack, outside Victoria Square''''s underground carpark. (© Pacemaker)

The statistics were revealed at a PSNI briefing on Tuesday, as part of an overview of an ongoing policing operation aimed at keeping people safe in the run-up to Christmas.

A series of attacks have been carried out by dissidents recently, including an attempt to bomb the car park of the Victoria Square Shopping Centre, close to Musgrave Street Police Station.

Letter bombs have been sent to senior officers and police patrols have been shot at.

Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum said 323 checkpoints have been mounted so far, with a total of 1,784 cars screened between 25 November and 10 December.

He explained: "Our vehicle checkpoints are much more sporadic (than during the Troubles) but it is also unpredictable.

"The checkpoints are much shorter in length but they also have a significant deterrent effect so we achieve a greater balance between public reassurance and protection."

In the most recent incidents, two separate police patrols came under fire in north Belfast and west Belfast - no-one was hurt but the attacks are being treated as attempted murder.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: "There is a threat coming from dissident republican groups to the city centre and wider provincial towns.

"The only aim of terrorism is to cause disruption."

Police said they do not believe the extra security measures will disrupt the commercial life of the city during the festive shopping season.

Belfast traders are expecting a busy time for business.

Paul McMahon, of Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: "All of the signs are that it is going to be a busy Christmas and we are open for business."

Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs Of Ulster, added: "We are doing well, the recession has started to lift and we are starting to see that in the city."

© UTV News
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5 Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (265 days ago):
The PSNI CAN'T do right for doing wrong! can they ANTO and WEE brother??? You 2 would be likely to be some of the first to be on here blaming the PSNI if they were not proactive and a bomb was to explode in the heart of the city. ANTO why don't you do a bit of asking around and see if these mad dissidents are willing to 'dialogue' with you then we'll all feel SO much safer! WEE BROTHER== just because B Franklin said it doesn't necessarily make it true in every circumstance!!. The PSNI do an excellent job while their lives are under threat on and off duty yet all some people can do is yap about them instead of giving them the support they both need and deserve.
Anto in Belfast wrote (265 days ago):
Duh!!! Never heard of buses!!! A small bomb can never be prevented. This is pure sound bite rubbish. Talk and dialogue will be successful not silly, useless checkpoints!!!
Peter in Newtownabbey wrote (266 days ago):
The police know who these terrorists are, they should sit outside their homes every minute of every day! Like all the IRA groups past and present it will scare them as they wouldn't dream of engaging security forces face to face.
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (266 days ago):
Lord Benjamin Disraeli said "There are three ways to mislead the public. There are lies, damed lies and statistics." 2000 vehicles stoped does constitute a disruption to IRA splinter groups.
Wee Brother in Belfast wrote (266 days ago):
Sticking their nose into ordinary peoples lives. How many of the 2000 had anything to do with the 'alleged' reason for spot checks? “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ? Benjamin Franklin
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