Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has demanded immediate answers following PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne posting an image on social media posing with heavily armed PSNI officers in Crossmaglen.
The Newry/Armagh MLA said:
“On Christmas morning, as the community in South Armagh were celebrating the festivities, Chief Constable Simon Byrne posed with heavily armed members of the PSNI at Crossmaglen Police Station.
“Further, in the text of the social media post the Chief Constable stated that policing in this area was ‘unique’ for the PSNI.
“This post by the Chief Constable is offensive to the local community and utterly unacceptable. It has only served to further undermine the public confidence in the PSNI within South Armagh.
“The heavily armed officers posing with the Chief Constable is reflective of the militaristic style of policing that the community in South Armagh has had to endure in recent years.
“This community is no different to any other, any attempt to differentiate the style of policing has not and will not be tolerated.
“As new Chief Constable, Simon Byrne should have sought to address issues which have eroded the local community’s confidence in the PSNI in South Armagh, but this escapade has shown an intention to do anything but.
“We need a new chapter for policing in South Armagh.
“We need an end to fortress police stations, heavily armed officers and poor response levels.
“We need a police service that serves the interests of this community in an efficient, effective and respectful manner.
“This community not only deserves nothing less, but will accept nothing less.”