07/10/2002

Chief Constable apologises for 'manner' of police raids

PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde has made an apology for the manner in which the raid on Sinn Féin's Stormont office was carried out.

The Chief Constable said that he had reviewed footage of the raid and that with hindsight the Friday raid on the Stormont Sinn Féin office should have been conducted differently.

Mr Orde admitted that there had been an "error of judgement" on how the raid had been carried out and that it could have been done with a "more sensitive and appropriate style".

However, he said that "as an investigator" the need to search that office was clear in his mind.

The Chief Constable, who said that he had meetings with senior officers who had directed the raid, conceded to reporters outside Stormont that "we could have done it better".

During the raid on Friday around 20 PSNI officers arrived at the Sinn Féin Stormont office as they conducted anti-terrorism investigations.

Earlier Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams dismissed the steadily deepening crisis as "political theatre". He said that it was aimed at ensuring that republicans shouldered the blame if the unionists walked out of the power-sharing executive.

This afternoon DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley said that letters of resignation had been lodged with the speaker of the Stormont Assembly.

(SP)

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