Kelly to quiz Chief Constable over army deployment

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly, who is a member of the Policing Board.
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly, who is a member of the Policing Board.

Sinn Fein Policing Board Member Gerry Kelly has vowed to raise the deployment of British army personnel during searches in Derry with PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Belfast MLA Mr Kelly has said that questions need to be answered by the PSNI about the use of British soldiers during searches in the Galliagh area.

A heavy PSNI presence in Derry's Ederowen Park on Wednesday morning during searches.

A heavy PSNI presence in Derry's Ederowen Park on Wednesday morning during searches.

Speaking after it was confirmed that the PSNI had requested that army specialists attend the raids at bungalows in Ederowen Park and Glendale Park on Wednesday, Mr Kelly said:

“I intend to raise the use of British soldiers in house searches in Derry with the Chief Constable at the earliest opportunity.

“The Good Friday Agreement and the promise of a new dispensation for policing was about making policing accountable to the community and did not include the British army.

“I want to know at what level in the PSNI was the request made to bring in the presence of the British army.”

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, PSNI, Strand Road. INLS3714MC013

Mr Kelly added: “The use of British soldiers in house searches is unacceptable and only makes it more difficult for political leaders and others to achieve genuine policing with the community.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan on Wednesday evening said: “There were no arrests, however a number of items were taken away for forensic examination.”

Speaking about the army deployment, he added: “Due to the suspected presence of munitions or explosives, military specialists were deployed in support of police.

“The role of these military personnel is to search for munitions and explosive devices which if located will then dealt with by the army bomb disposal officer.

“The military used are specifically trained in this type of high risk search thus ensuring that such searches are conducted in as safe a manner as possible.”