East Belfast Alliance MLA and member of Belfast District Policing Partnership, Councillor Naomi Long, has criticised Unionist politicians for their decision to withdraw from the DPP in Belfast.
She said that the decision was the clearest indication yet that political unionism had chosen not to support law and order and that they were now no different to Sinn Fein when it comes to policing.
Cllr Long said:
“I am absolutely dumbfounded by the lack of leadership and integrity within Unionism in this face of the serious rioting and disorder on our streets in recent days. This decision is a further proof that, when push comes to shove, the commitment of unionism to the defence of the police and the rule of law is nothing more than tactical and superficial.
“In recent months, these same politicians have brought motion after motion to Belfast City Council, to highlight Sinn Fein’s failure to support policing, the DPPs and the rule of law and order, yet in recent days they would appear to have stolen Sinn Fein’s crib sheet, with cries of police heavy-handedness, weasel-words to defend the indefensible, and now in withdrawing from the District Policing Partnership.
“Rather than deal with concerns about policing constructively and democratically through the DPP, Unionists have opted instead to engage in a fruitless and immature display of petulance.
“The Secretary of State has challenged unionists to show their support law and order — he now has his answer, loud and clear. Last night they choose to leave the District Policing Partnership and further underlined their position by announcing the decision through the North and West Belfast Parades and Cultural Forum, a body which includes representation from loyalist paramilitaries, including the recently specified UVF and RHC, who were behind recent violence and unrest.
“Their continued willingness to sit down with off-ceasefire loyalists, whilst refusing to engage with the police through the Belfast District Policing Partnership is a stance completely devoid of any integrity and unionists engaged in this charade need to be held publicly and politically accountable for their choice.”