19/02/2019

SDLP Meet PSNI Over Information Disclosure Failings

An SDLP MLA has met with senior PSNI officials to warn of damaged public confidence in the force following their failure to disclose information relating to a loyalist killing in 1992.

It emerged last week that the PSNI had withheld information on the mass shooting at Sean Graham's bookies on the Ormeau Road, which saw five people lose their life.

A watchdog line of inquiry into the attack has now been set back due to the disclosure error.

Policing and Justice Spokesperson for the SDLP, Dolores Kelly, met with the acting Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin and Assistant Chief Constable George Clark on Monday 18 February.
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She later commented: "The SDLP have made it very clear to the PSNI the reputational harm that has come from this recent scandal and the risk it poses to further damaging public confidence in policing here. This incident also makes it very difficult to believe that there is not a hidden dead hand of the security services in the organisation.

"The fact that this wasn’t an isolated incident, some will see this as a further attack on the office of the Police Ombudsman, insofar as the Ombudsman wanted to give a number of reports before the end of his tenure and failure by the PSNI to disclose all available information will delay that."

The Upper Bann MLA added that the PSNI chiefs agreed with her calls for an independent review, whether that is established by the Department of Justice or the Policing Board.

She concluded: "The legacy of the past continues to poison the policing of today. Therefore, critical decisions have to be made sooner rather than later around the establishment of the HIU, the proper resourcing of it and full powers of investigation to be vested in the director, with no no-go areas."



(JG)

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