27 August 2005

Policing role for paramilitaries in the spotlight

Belfast Telegraph

By Marie Foy
mfoy@belfasttelegraph.co.uk
27 August 2005

THE question of criminals and paramilitaries being allowed into the PSNI was back in the spotlight today.

The SDLP criticised what it described Sinn Fein's support for parmilitaries to be allowed to join the police, while Alliance leader David Ford said there may be "bad apples in the police" .

Mr Ford told the BBC it was important to focus on the safeguards that exist to ensure all officers uphold the law.

"I think we may have to accept there may be certain bad apples in the police service.

"The key thing is to ensure the police service is run as best it can be and these bad apples are weeded out."

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness insisted that people involved in serious crime should not be allowed in the PSNI.

Mr Maginness commented: "Sinn Fein in negotiations is pressing again for the criminal records of IRA men to be erased so that they can join the PSNI.

"This is something that Sinn Fein have been seeking for years now. It is a reckless, dangerous and self-serving stance."

The Assemblyman added: "The SDLP has consistently argued that people who have been involved in serious crime should not be allowed in the PSNI.

"Sinn Fein's stance would open the doors for loyalist and republican paramilitaries to join the police."

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