07 February 2019
Commenting after the first public meeting of the Policing Board, DUP lead member Mervyn Storey MLA said,
“This was the first opportunity for the Policing Board to meet in public for two years. The Board can not only contribute to holding the police to account in Northern Ireland, but to demonstrate and encourage support for law and order. The Policing Board is also a demonstration of the progress that can be made in a difficult political environment. The next step must be to ensure that all aspects of devolution are function in the way the public deserve.
We were able to raise directly with the Chief Constable the activity of terrorist criminal gangs. Not only have republican terrorists engaged in a car bomb attack in Londonderry, but a man was murdered in Belfast. The communities in which these gangs operate feel their effects most acutely, but there has been revulsion in the wider public about their activities. There must be a robust and proper law and order response to those who engage in such activity. That will involve the Paramilitary Crime Taskforce and they must ensure that groups such as the republicans involved in bombing and hijackings in Londonderry come under that focus.
Whilst there was an obvious focus on a number of higher level issues, including PSNI preparedness for the UK leaving the European Union it is also important that crimes impacting upon the lives of our community are focused upon. In recent weeks there have been a number of ATM thefts, reminiscent of a previous spate of such incidents a few years ago. The loss of such a service can have a real impact, particularly on rural communities and it is particularly concerning given the level of organisation required to carry out such a crime.”