West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

PSNI Condemned for Handling of Tattyreagh Raid

Published: 10 April, 2013

West Tyrone Sinn Féin representative, Councillor Glenn Campbell, has condemned PSNI handling of the search of an elderly woman's home in Tattyreagh last week.

Cllr Campbell was speaking after he, accompanied by Barry McElduff MLA, visited the home in Tattyreagh that had been subjected to "an unnecessary and terrifying PSNI raid".

According to Cllr Campbell,

"The sole occupants of the house at the time of this raid were a mid-80 year old woman and her daughter - neither who are accused of any offence or are the subject of a police investigation. Both were visibly shaken by what they had experienced. PSNI officers broke down the front door to gain entry as the elderly mother approached the door in the hall-way."

Cllr Campbell continued,

"Both women say there was no knock on the door, as the PSNI have claimed. PSNI personnel, with faces covered, in full riot gear and carrying shields put the daughter outside in her bare feet, while another directed his colleague to 'get her out as well' (referring to the elderly mother)."

"One of the women explained to me that, at first, she had no idea it was the PSNI - thinking it was some sort of armed gang and that their lives were at risk. The women were then allowed to return to the house while the search continued. Officers proceeded to search through personal belongings for 3 hours, laughing and joking as if enjoying the occasion."

Cllr Campbell has said that the family concerned feel the PSNI totally over-reacted and he is raising a number of questions to the PSNI on their behalf.

"Whilst a search warrant was presented, no explanation has been offered as to why PSNI officers entered the house in this manner. No apology was issued to the two women subjected to this terrifying ordeal. When family members asked those present if they would find it acceptable if their mother was treated in this way, the PSNI officer offered no reply. The family are also asking why the police didn't enter via the back door (which was open)?, why they didn't knock the front door, electing to destroy it and force entry instead?, and why they called at least one neighbours house before the raid and ignored their neighbour's warning that there was an elderly woman present? "

Concluding, Cllr Campbell said that he has contacted the PSNI in relation to the incident and would continue to seek answers from the PSNI in relation to the conduct of the officers concerned.

"The conduct of the PSNI during this operation was entirely unacceptable. I have raised this with the PSNI and will continue these concerns with the PSNI on this family's behalf. There needs to be a better protocol to deal with searching homes where older people live. I will also be contacting the Commissioner for Older People to raise these concerns, as no elderly woman should be treated in such a disrespectful and inhumane manner. Sinn Féin will continue our campaign to secure proper, accountable policing."