‘Police should admit they got it wrong’

The Mayor of Derry Colr. Kevin Campbell. (1506PG01)
The Mayor of Derry Colr. Kevin Campbell. (1506PG01)

A Derry MLA says it’s time for police chiefs to admit they got it wrong when they raided Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell’s Creggan home.

Mayor Campbell said a laptop and three mobile phones were taken away but police gave no reason for the search in the early hours of Friday morning.

Hours after the raid, police said the Sinn Fein Mayor’s property was searched during a “major operation” against vigilante group, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD).

The PSNI insisted the “necessity of these searches was properly and carefully considered.”

Last night, in response to a query from the ‘Journal’, a police spokesperson would only say: “This is an ongoing investigation.”

Local Sinn Fein Assemblywoman Maeve McLaughlin says the time has come for police to “admit their mistake”.

“The police have a responsibility to admit that it got it wrong big time on this occasion,” she told the ‘Journal’.

“Kevin and his family know the police got it wrong, the people of Creggan know the police got it wrong and it’s time for the police to admit that it got it wrong.

“It won’t be the first time it’s had to apologise for getting it wrong - so the sooner the better. The police have certainly done themselves no favours as regards their reputation as a result of this affair.

“What happened at Kevin’s house in the early hours of Friday was wrong and it’s now up to police chiefs to admit that they were wrong. If we have to, we’ll take this to the desk of Matt Baggott to ensure that this matter is rectified.”

Meanwhie, it’s been confirmed that the chief executive of Derry City Council has been instructed to ask the local PSNI commander why the Mayor’s home was raided.

Among the items taken from Mayor Campbell’s home during the search was a laptop belonging to Derry City Council.

The Mayor says Friday’s early morning incident was “very traumatic” for his wife and ten year-old daughter.

“The experience left my daughter in tears and very upset but, thanks to the help of kind neighbours, she was spared the full impact of this unexplained raid on our home,” he said.

According to the Mayor, police officers arrived at his home at 10.30 p.m. on Thursday evening and informed him that they believed there was someone in the house they were looking for. Mayor Campbell said he told police he was alone in the house at the time.

It was at 4.30 a.m. that police entered the property and carried out a search for more than an hour before seizing a number of items including a mobile phone belonging to the Mayor’s daughter.

Colr. Campbell says he wants to know who ordered the search of his home. “I want answers,” he said. “Someone made a decision to raid my home and I want to know who made that decision and on what grounds.”

Colr. Campbell says he now expects an apology from the PSNI.

“This leaves me with a lot of questions,” he said. “People will be looking at this situation and asking what this is all about. You would think there are people in there who don’t want the PSNI to be accepted in areas like Creggan.”

On Friday, police described the Creggan operation as “fast moving and fluid.”

They said that, during the operation, police recovered eight weapons and a number of men were arrested. They were all later released.