Sinn Féin’s National Chairperson Declan Kearney has said the PSNI leadership has a lot of convincing to do within the nationalist and republican constituency that it is seriously committed to, and capable of, delivering transformative policing.
Writing in his latest blog on An Phoblacht, the South Antrim MLA said:
“The repercussions of the PSNI’s conduct on the Ormeau Road are huge and far reaching.
“It has caused a massive setback for community confidence in the PSNI.
“Into the foreseeable future, it will have consequences for ensuring the PSNI becomes more fully representative of the community it is meant to serve.
“The PSNI Chief Constable has now apologised but his intervention completely missed the point.
“There have also been questions as to whether he should resign. That issue is also a diversion.
“The deepening crisis of confidence in the PSNI and widespread anger about the continuous pattern of bad and differential policing now raise fundamental questions for the entire senior leadership team of the PSNI, not just its Chief Constable. And, this extends to the PSNI institutional culture, human rights ethos, organisational training, adherence to the principles of the GFA, and commitment to the vision of our peace process.
“Each successive PSNI Chief Constable, and their various senior leadership teams, have consistently failed to internalise the priorities and requirements of policing in our society as it continues to emerge from conflict. To do so, means leading and directing an organisational culture which can provide agency for change.
“Individual, enlightened, change champions in themselves are not enough. The PSNI has to address itself to critical, systemic issues regarding its policing role in the north.
“For 80 years the RUC was a pillar of the exclusionary, apartheid system, which was the northern state.
“The formation of the PSNI was meant to be a break with that past, and the lived reality of repression for so many in the north of Ireland.
“It was meant to become a new transformational institution in the north, synonymous with a new beginning to policing.
“Last week’s events have been another harsh reminder of how much more needs to be done to bring that about.
“The PSNI leadership has a lot of convincing to do within this community, that it is serious about transformative policing, and is indeed up to the task.”