Alliance representative for Antrim Line, Councillor Tom Campbell, has expressed concern at reports that convicted terrorists would be seeking positions as police officers, as part of the price to be paid for Sinn Fein participation in District Policing Boards. Such suggestions were ‘a step too far’, he said.
Councillor Campbell, who has been nominated for a place on the Newtownabbey DPP, said:
“Those of who supported the Good Friday Agreement did so with the understanding that part of the price to pay for a promised end to paramilitary violence was that those who had been convicted of horrendous crimes would be released early from prison without completing their prison terms. That was a hard pill to swallow, but it is a step too far to suggest that those with terrorist convictions should be able to set those convictions aside and become police officers.
“Terrorists rarely respect the most basic values necessary for any democratic society. The most basic right is the right to life, and those who took life freely and without conscience or regret, must forgo the right to now purport to represent and protect the values we hold dear.
“Terrorists have often complained about a breach of their human rights, but have no understanding that such values also apply to others.
“Those who must uphold the law must be chosen from amongst the best in society, and I fully support the principle that there must be equal opportunity for all in the new policing arrangements.
“It is insulting to the victims of crime to suggest that serious criminal records should be expunged and that the Police force should make an exception for such individuals.
“Some of those who would want to apply for the Police force have conspired against many of the values they would have us believe they now wish to respect. In many cases, there would be those who have had no regrets at the murder of police officers, who clearly feel that there should be no bar to their application. This is unsustainable in moral terms and completely unacceptable.
“It is not clear to what extent we should take such reports seriously as far as what may have been discussed in this area, but I believe that it is necessary for Government to see clearly that any such suggestion should be treated with the distain that it deserves.”