The Party Leader of the PUP has expresses what he has said is the ‘frustration and lack of confidence in the PSNI and PPS within the community’ – calling on Unionists who currently sit on the Policing Board to consider their positions.
In a statement the Party leader Billy Hutchinson wrote: “Since the announcement of the Public Prosecution Service that no charges are to be brought forward as a result of the mass Republican gathering for the funeral of Bobby Storey which so spectacularly breached Covid-19 guidelines, this Party have been reflecting as the reverberations are felt both politically and socially.
“As a Party we are not surprised by this decision. It is a decision which can only be seen as another example of the two-tier Policing and Judicial system which our community has had to endure for a considerable period of time. Whilst agreeing with the First Minister’s assessment of the Chief Constable’s position now being untenable, we would remind her that members of her Party and other Unionist parties who sit on the Policing Board have been saying little or nothing to hold the Chief Constable to account or to raise concerns of the Unionist and Loyalist community community over two-tiered policing.
“The Policing Board is there to hold the Chief Constable to account, that is its remit. We have no confidence in the judicious and effective implementation of said remit considering the actions of certain members of the Policing Board over the years. Those actions which have brought some members of the board themselves into very public conflict with the PSNI without facing accountability for their actions. Members of a board that should uphold accountability, who watched as their Party Vice President, Deputy First Minister, and other leading Party members attended the funeral in the first place. How are we expected to have confidence in either the board, the PSNI or the leaders of Government at Stormont after this fiasco?
“The Progressive Unionist Party calls for Unionist representitives to consider their place on the Policing Board while the Chief Constable and others with influence continue to appease Nationalism whilst alienating those from the Unionist and Loyalist community. The sense of no confidence in the PSNI and PPS within our community is real, not just in isolated areas, but across the country. This matter needs addressed urgently.”