Alliance Assembly member Seamus Close (Lagan Valley) has criticised the Chief Constable’s statement in the Irish News today that Sinn Fein can join the Policing Board tomorrow as far as he is concerned.
Mr Close said he could not see how Sinn Féin on the Policing Board could hold the Chief Constable to account, if it had a different definition of criminality. Mr Close stated:
“I find this an incredible statement for the Chief Constable to have made, especially after the IMC report and the Taoiseach went as far as saying that Sinn Féin knew about the Northern Bank raid in advance.
“In the aftermath of the robbery, Sinn Féin have stated in the most abhorrent way possible that they have a different definition of a crime from the rest of society. It seems that murder is only murder if the IRA is not involved.
“Sinn Féin has also made it patently clear that are quite prepared to defend or turn a blind eye to IRA paramilitary and criminal activity. How on earth can this be compatible with Sinn Féin sitting on the Policing Board? How can they hold the Chief Constable accountable if they have an alternative understanding of what criminality even is?
“If Sinn Féin ever do sign up to policing, they cannot do it if the IRA is still carrying out illegal activities. And they must agree with everyone else on the Policing Board that the PSNI and the PSNI alone is responsible for policing the streets.
“There must be a shared definition of the rule of law and common standards that are accepted, literally, across the board. If Sinn Féin eventually accept this, there can be no room for the IRA. However, for the Chief Constable to be so relaxed about Sinn Fein’s involvement in policing while IRA members are up to their necks in crime, is highly concerning.”