More police needed to confront terrorism

Published Tuesday, 13 November 2012
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There are calls for an extra 1,000 police officers to be recruited to tackle terrorism in Northern Ireland.

More police needed to confront terrorism
Police have been injured in disorder across Northern Ireland. (© Pacemaker)

The Police Federation said there must be zero tolerance against attacks and the judiciary should impose more maximum prison sentences.

Chairman Terry Spence's words come after prison officer David Black was murdered by gunmen on the M1 as he travelled to work at Maghaberry prison.

"Politicians standing shoulder to shoulder after each atrocity is a welcome signal of condemnation and steadfastness but it must lead to concerted action to bring the terrorist campaign to an end.

"Unless we take the serious and effective steps of a policy of zero tolerance then the economic and political prospects of our new democracy will be worn down by attrition.

"That attrition is the death and serious injury, year in year out, of public servants who have dedicated their lives to the protection of this community."

On Monday, a republican paramilitary group which calls itself the new IRA admitted responsibility for killing Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two.

In recent years two soldiers and two policemen have also been killed by dissident republicans. In July, it emerged that some of the main dissident republican terrorist factions in Northern Ireland were uniting to form a new version of the IRA.

Pretending that we are dealing with minuscule terrorist groups is simply self-deceiving wishful thinking.

Terry Spence

"These people may be politically misguided lunatics but they have become a lethal force which needs a legally-based aggressive response from the Executive, the PSNI and the judiciary," Mr Spence will tell a meeting of police federations from across the UK on Tuesday.

"More information and intelligence leading to convictions is needed from the wider community at all levels."

A Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman said: "The Government keeps the status of all paramilitary organisations under review."

In the past seven years more than 1,100 officers have been injured during riots following loyal order parades, and Mr Spence said some have been medically discharged because of public order breakdown.

"The loyal orders and the resident groups should reflect on their failure to understand the price being paid in injuries and risk to life of police officers by their insistence that one side has the right to parade and the other side the right to be offended to the point of violent confrontation," he added.

The PSNI currently has around 7,000 officers - that is 5,500 fewer than were in the RUC in 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

Mr Spence said the PSNI is under-resourced to deal with widespread public disorder and should be immediately authorised to begin recruiting 1,000 more officers.

Following talks with the Treasury in London last year, Justice Minister David Ford helped secure an extra £200 million for the police force.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Danny in Ulster wrote (806 days ago):
Well surprise surprise, now that the full & part-time reserve have gone, half the PSNI stations have closed, and we lost the majority of experienced CID offers under Patton, the police are over stretched. Who could have seen that coming...
elf in belfast wrote (809 days ago):
You know what, I think Billy the Auditor is short sighted. The officers are in riot gear and the photograph shows one frame of officers helping someone who is obviously injured and in difficulty. It does not show any potential threat posed to the recovery during the officer and anything could be happening. As for the idiot who made comments about police eating, THEY EAT! just like any other living goodness have you not got something better to do than criticise people trying to do basic things like help people and feed themselves on a break? Get a life!
On the Fence in Belfast wrote (809 days ago):
NIC - As a serving officer I can confirm the 600 officers Mr Baggott has "put back on the streets" aren't in fact on the streets. They've simply had their job titles changed and "community" or "neighbourhood" put in front of them. They still sit at a desk and do very little.
OldSod in Fermanagh wrote (809 days ago):
Norman.D spouting the same old cliches,.... I'm from a family with a serving officer so I'll help you out. 1) presumably you think police either don't need to eat like everybody else, or that they have time to sit down and prepare a proper meal while on duty? Which one is it? 2) As for cars, there are only so many officers out there and they have a lot of ground to cover, until they are issued with jet packs or star trek style transporters, patrol cars are the only way for them to cover large areas or respond to emergencies. Foot patrols are nice to look at, but very limited in practical terms. 3) How would you have a clue about how many officers are behind desks? Have you ever worked as an officer? Have you x-ray eyes to see into stations? Or are you regurgitating what someone else told you or just making it up? There is no point in arresting criminals/ terrorists left right and centre without doing the paperwork that goes with a court case and the criminal getting off scot-free! As for Billy the Auditor, I'm not even going to get started on you,......
NIC in Belfast wrote (809 days ago):
It is not more Police that is needed it is more help from the Public and the intelligence service that is needed . Mr Baggott has already put 600 officers back on the street over the passed year or so, did you not read the papers or watch the news this has been mentioned. And if certain groups keep the pressure on about recruiting ex officers to do admin work , then the police will have to put officers back in again. Police need cars and landrovers to do the job. and i think most Police officers eat food like anyone else so they have to buy it. With the cut backs they will not have so many police building to eat in, And if the goverment have the say we will have even less Police throughout the UK and Northern Ireland in the next few years .
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