SF's policing role will upset voters

The SDLP's leader on Limavady Council, Michael Coyle, says Sinn Féin's decision to join the District Policing Partnership in Limavady could prove a "step too far for voters".

The former Mayor of Limavady, accusing Sinn Fein of shirking its responsibilities in monitoring local policing over the years, says the party has opted to follow the example set by the SDLP.

“What will the voters who elected Sinn Fin on the understanding that it would not work with the PSNI think now? Will this be a step too far for those SF voters?

“Instead of shining a light in dark places, Sinn Fin in Limavady is trying to cover-up their mistakes and uncertainties. They have to blame the SDLP, because they know they are in a catch-up situation.They have to justify their poor performance to their electorate. After so many years of...shirking their responsibilities in monitoring local policing, it is strange to hear them clambering aboard to join in the Limavady Policing Partnership.”

Mr. Coyle, who is also a former MLA, said the nationalist/republican majority on the DPP would still hold the majority sway, regardless of whether or not a 15, 17 or 19 member model was used to determine the make-up of the DPP.

“The District Policing Partnerships are not defunct, they will be restructured - that is the number of members will change and the members may change, however there basic operation will not. The political balance of republican/nationalist versus unionist is in the ratio of 6-3.

“The overall gender balance is maintained within the partnership when the independent members are taken into account.

“Whether the 15, 17 or 19 model is used in the makeup of the DPP, the d’Hondt system ensures a fair political distribution on the partnership.

“It is a bit of a surprise to hear Sinn Fin complain about expenditure of Limavady DPP on one hand and on the other they want an extra Sinn Fin councillor as well as an extra independent member on the partnership, with the extra cost that will incur.

“Surely 15 members on the DPP is a good compromise, giving sufficient political representation while keeping the expenditure reasonable.”