19 May 2006

PSNI is accused of holding back sectarian statistics

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young and Concubhar Ó Liatháin

The PSNI has been accused of deliberately withholding statistics on the levels of sectarian attacks in Ballymena.
Last night local councillor Monica Digney questioned whether PSNI computers were as “bigoted as those who sit at them” after police chiefs claimed software currently used by them is unable to “provide analysis of the victims of sectarian incidents”.
The PSNI made the claim after Daily Ireland requested a breakdown of figures relating to sectarian attacks in the troubled town.
Bizarrely, the PSNI claimed they couldn’t provide the figures. When asked to explain why not, a spokesperson said: “In its present form, the software used by the PSNI to gather statistical information holds finite layers of information about a vast number of incidents. It is currently not possible to provide analysis of the victims of sectarian incidents for this reason.”
Last night Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney said she wasn’t surprised to learn that the PSNI were reluctant to reveal the levels of sectarian attacks in Ballymena.
“I’m not surprised by this at all. Especially when you see some of the remarks that the PSNI have made over the past week. I just wonder are their computers as bigoted as those who sit at them?
“I don’t think anyone has any faith in the PSNI to be even handed in their dealings with the nationalist community, particularly in a place like Ballymena where anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism permeates every section of society.”

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