31/01/2007

Chief Constable hits out at Sinn Fein and SDLP

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has today hit out at Sinn Fein and the SDLP, accusing them of insulting his officers and using the police as a political football.

The comments were leaked to a Belfast newsroom today after Sir Hugh issued a confidential police memo, which was sent to around 10,000 police officers last week.

The Chief Constable is understood to have been angered by comments made by nationalist and republican politicians, following last week's Police Ombudsman's report, which referred to police collusion in loyalist murders in north Belfast from 1991.

Sir Hugh accused some political parties of making "unfair and damaging statements about our organisation" including a statement by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams who said that republicans would "put manners" on the police.

Also in the memo, Sir Hugh tells staff that he has spoken directly to the SDLP leadership to express his anger - and taken steps to speak to Sinn Fein, but says their leadership appears to have "gone on-the-run".

The memo ends by the Chief Constable saying he is "proud to lead the PSNI" and says his staff "can hold their heads up high".

(EF/SP)

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