Historic Sinn Fein Move On Policing

Several leading republicans joined the audience at a policing meeting - which focused on community issues - in west Belfast last night.

This was the first meeting of a District Policing Partnership (DPP) in west Belfast - and, unthinkable just a few years ago - involved Sinn Fein alongside senior police officers who were then questioned on issues such as how long it took the PSNI to respond to calls in the west of the city.

A small protest greeted people going into the venue at Beechmount Leisure Centre, led by members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, although the meeting itself passed without incident.

Speaking at the event, SF councillor Tom Hartley said response times were typical of the issues which needed to be addressed by the PSNI.

Mr Hartley, Chairman of the DPP, said: "The PSNI just can't come to a meeting and say, we can't answer that.

"If they want to build confidence, if they want to engage with the community, they have to be prepared to be open about these issues."

The police officer in command of west and north Belfast, Chief Superintendent Gary White, said the meeting had been positive.

See: Policing Partnership Meeting Abandoned


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