West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin delegation meets police chiefs over Tyrone arrests

Published: 14 May, 2012

Cllr Sean Clarke

Cllr Sean Clarke

A delegation from Sinn Féin met with senior PSNI commanders on Monday afternoon to highlight concerns relating to a number of search and arrest operations carried out at the weekend.

The group was headed by the chairman of Cookstown District Council, Sean Clarke and included representatives from Carrickmore, Pomeroy and the Dungannon district.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Clarke said 'As community representatives we have serious concerns about PSNI operations which occurred at the weekend, and we requested this meeting so that these could be raised.

'In the case of the Greencastle operation, I drew attention to the fact that the arrest and search started at 4am in the morning when children and other family member were sound asleep. I also raised concern that, although women and children were in the house, no female officers were present. I felt that this was inappropriate.

'Additionally, I questioned the sheer scale of the operation in Greencastle and in Dunamore on Saturday afternoon. There were dozens of personnel deployed in minibuses, jeeps and cars. From a community perspective, it appeared like complete overkill and certainly not a good use of resources.

'This huge deployment was in stark contrast to the PSNI's failure to block a road and divert traffic the previous weekend when a suspicious object was discovered in the area.

Cllr Clarkes comments were echoed by Carrickmore SF Councillor Ann Marie Fitzgerald. According to Cllr Fitzgerald 'In the Carrickmore operation, PSNI officers accompanied by sniffer dogs searched a family home, seized cars and took away personal belongings.

'This has created a huge inconvenience for the young family and we have been pressing the PSNI to get these items, and those seized in the other searches, returned as soon as possible.

Cllr Clarke concluded 'We feel it is imperative that the PSNI are held accountable for every action that they take. In this case, we have many concerns about how their actions have negatively impacted upon the lives of the people affected, and on the wider community.

'As a party, we will continue to vigorously pursue our policy of critical engagement with the PSNI. It is through this approach that local people can help us shape a policing service that truly meets the needs of the community'.