Derry councillor says PSNI allegations come as ‘no surprise’ and asks schools not to engage with police

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly. (0605PG64)
Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly. (0605PG64)

A Derry councillor has written to schools asking them not to engage with the PSNI after the Police Ombudman’s Office (PONI) confirmed it was investigating how the force handled allegations of bribery and misconduct dating back to 2014.

In a letter dispatched to a number of Derry schools this afternoon, Independent Councillor for The Moor, Gary Donnelly, said the revelations came as “no surprise to me as a republican and a significant section of our community”.

On Thursday, PONI revealed it was investigating “concerns about the way in which the PSNI conducted an investigation into allegations of bribery and misconduct in public office in 2014”.

Following the revelation, Colr. Donnelly, claimed the PSNI were “unacccountable” and “controlled by Mi5” and asked schools in the city not to engage with the force.

“It’s heavily armed personnel...carry out on a regular basis aggressive stop and searches and house raids. I have witnessed at first hand the traumatic consequences of these actions particularly on children,” he wrote.

In the letter, which has been seen by the ‘Journal’, Colr. Donnelly added: “As your organisation/institution has a duty of care to our children, I would implore you not to allow your organisation/institution to be used as part of a charm offensive by this discredited force.”

In its statement this morning, PONI stated: “PONI is investigating allegations of criminality and misconduct in how this investigation was undertaken by police.

“It has not named the police officers under investigation, but has confirmed that they include a range of officers, including those above the rank of Chief Superintendent.

“The Police Ombudsman has declared the matter to be a ‘critical incident’ – an issue the outcome of which could have a significant impact on the person making the complaint, on the police or on the wider community.

“A team has been set up to look into these matters. It includes six investigators and has access to external legal advice

“Given that some of the officers are above the level of Chief Superintendent, the Policing Board has been notified.

“The Office has not recommended the suspension of any of the police officers concerned.”