15 April 2005

BreakingNews.ie

Number of police agents in terror groups 'declining'

15/04/2005 - 12:08:50

Around a quarter of police agents operating in Northern Ireland’s paramilitaries have been deactivated, a nationalist member of the Policing Board claimed today.

During a lunch of a nationalist SDLP document outlining six steps to crack down on loyalist paramilitaries, West Belfast Assembly member Alex Attwood claimed headway was being made in the fight against both loyalist and republican organised crime.

Mr Attwood said: “I think that recent events across the North (of Ireland) demonstrate that the PSNI (the Police Service of Northern Ireland) under the leadership of Hugh Orde is now beginning to tackle, pursue and prosecute those involved in organised crime, both loyalist and republican.

“Recent events in the courts and the in the public domain are firm proof and the surest evidence that that is beginning to change.

“The fact that the SDLP also drove a review of police agents over the last year arising from various reports including Stevens (an investigation into allegations of collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens) and the fact that it is my understanding that in or around 25% of police agents have been closed down or deactivated is proof that the policing culture of the past is being replaced by a better culture now and in the future.

“The SDLP, through the Policing Board and every other means available to us, will ensure that never again you have a Brian Nelson case, you never again will have a situation where loyalist agents involved in fierce criminality have any relationship with the forces of law and justice within the state.”

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