07 June 2019
North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey has said that nationalist representatives must finally step up to the challenge issued by the Chief Constable to demonstrate civic leadership and properly advocate a career in policing.
Mr Storey, who is the DUP group leader on the Northern Ireland Policing Board said,
“It is disappointing that the Chief Constable has felt it necessary to repeat these comments. His words echo nearly exactly the comments he made at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster in June 2018.
On that occasion, just as now there was a clear failure of nationalist political leadership in their response. A knee-jerk response once again by the SDLP to call for the reintroduction of 50:50 recruitment is a prime example of this. Instead of stepping up to the mark Delores Kelly wishes to outsource responsibility to discriminatory legislation.
Sinn Fein have similarly failed to step forward and demonstrate real leadership. The cancellation of PSNI recruitment events in Londonderry have been forced by so-called “micro-groups” yet those who claim to speak for the majority of nationalists and republicans do not step forward and demonstrate real leadership.
Today is the latest PSNI passing out parade and there is one simple question that Sinn Fein could answer. When was the last occasion that Sinn Fein was represented at one of the PSNI passing out ceremonies?
PSNI recruits come from all backgrounds and they are going out as police officers serving every single member of our community. Attendance at one of the graduation ceremonies is a small issue, but it is one way in which nationalist representatives can demonstrate support for those going forward to serve our community. Will Sinn Fein answer a simple question about when they last attended one of these ceremonies?
It is not enough for nationalist and republican representatives to pay lip service to policing. It’s time for a demonstration of real leadership."