On 1st September, the Orange family remembered 339 members of the Institution who were murdered by terrorists – over 70 of whom were serving police officers. On the previous day, the PSNI launched a report on policing in South Armagh which was highly political, insensitive and clearly designed to appease Nationalism.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland have very real concerns regarding the impartiality of the organisation commissioned to conduct the research for this report. Furthermore, our members are sick of the rank hypocrisy of Sinn Fein who, whilst continuing to eulogise those who for decades, murdered and maimed police officers and soldiers in South Armagh, now ironically demand that policing is delivered on their terms.
This report is the latest addition to a catalogue of ill-judged decisions in the past 18 months which illustrate the PSNI’s clear lack of understanding of the concerns of the Unionist community and further fuels the allegations of a two-tier policing system.
The PSNI has once again shown its obsession with ensuring Republicanism is kept happy at all costs – including the cost of its own members morale and the organisation’s credibility in wider society.
No later than this week, Grand Orange Lodge Officers engaged with the PSNI regarding the deteriorating confidence our members and fellow Unionists have in their approach to our community. Sadly, to date such engagement has provided limited progress – yet one photograph of the Chief Constable posing with serving officers in Crossmaglen has produced an apology, a commissioned report, a press conference and 50 recommendations.
If the Chief Constable and his senior colleagues are serious about being representative of, and accountable to the community they police, then immediate and decisive steps must be taken to redress this obvious two-tier imbalance which threatens to completely undermine the traditional support for policing enjoyed from the Unionist community.
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