Dissidents accused of inciting children to attack police in Derry; SF to raise reports of ‘heavy handed’ tactics by PSNI

Police have accused dissident Republicans of “manipulating local youths into attacking police” while Sinn Féin have raised concerns over reports of “heavy handed” tactics by the PSNI in the Creggan are of Derry.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 6:59 am
District Commander Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones and Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan.

Concerns were raised following disturbances during a security operation in the Creggan area of Derry on Thursday evening.

A search operation, conducted by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Terrorism Investigation Unit, with assistance from District Policing colleagues and Operational Support Department, was conducted throughout the day in the area.

The PSNI said detectives “were able to conduct a detailed forensic search and have seized a considerable amount of material for further examination”.

District Commander Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones said: “The main priority for police is the safety of the local community however we strongly believe that sinister elements connected to violent dissident republicans manipulated local youths into attacking police and disrupting today’s search activity.

“It is also our understanding that they attempted to disrupt local services into the area but were unsuccessful despite some localised disorder.

“The vast majority of the public welcome the action we are taking against those who are causing serious harm to the community and it is detestable that our young people are being used in this manner.

“We are grateful for the support of our partners who continue to engage with young people we would once again ask that parents and guardians be mindful of where their children are and what they are doing.”

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan however said the party will raise concerns directly with the PSNI over its handling of an incident in Creggan.

The Foyle MLA said: “I am deeply concerned following reports of heavy-handed policing during an incident in Creggan today.

“The PSNI have questions to answer over scenes which appeared on social media showing officers using heavy-handed tactics on women.

“This has become symptomatic of how the PSNI carry out policing operations in Creggan and a concern which we have continually raised.

“The public rightly expects the very highest policing standards and we will hold the police to account when their actions fail to meet those standards.

“We will be raising these concerns directly with the local leadership of the PSNI.”