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Slieve Gullion Councillor Pete Byrne has called on the Chief Constable Simon Byrne to publish the findings of South Armagh Policing Review following its completion last year. The review followed an incident in Crossmaglen on Christmas Day 2019 when the Chief Constable posed with heavily armed police officers outside the police station.

Councillor Byrne has written to the Chief Constable to ask him to commit to a date for publication and show that his vow to improve community relations is a sincere one.

Crossmaglen square. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Crossmaglen square. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Byrne said: “Following the appalling events in Belfast last week, I have written to the Chief Constable last to demand that he publish this report as a matter of urgency. We have worked collectively and constructively over many months to document our experiences as a community. We engaged in this process in good faith, expending both time and effort through our community groups alongside honest political engagement to see a complete review into policing in South Armagh. Over the coming days and weeks, leadership must be forthcoming from all sides and this includes the PSNI with the publication of this report.”

Cllr Pete Byrne

“There is now an even deeper conviction within nationalist and republican communities that political policing is rife throughout the PSNI and little or nothing has been learned from the engagement over the last twelve months. There are many anticipating its findings and eager to work together on implementing proposals that will move our community forward. The confidence in our community that attitudes within the PSNI can change is being questioned and what should have been a productive month for improving and building relationships, has become a disheartening one instead.”

“The draft report and proposals into the South Armagh Policing Review are sitting on the Chief Constable’s desk gathering dust. I find no good reason to hold back this crucial report any longer. If the Chief Constable is genuine about improving community relations and demonstrating his commitment to equal and fair policing in our community, he must publish this report as a matter of urgency. We all strive to live and work in safer communities where we respect the law and each other but we must do all we can to address the underlying and systemic issues that are the cause of such offending behaviour.”

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