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Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has held meetings with the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton and the District Commander Super Intendent Jane Humphries this week.

Mr McNulty explained, "This week I have held a number of meetings with the PSNI at a regional and local level. Our meetings were both important and productive. Our engagement with the PSNI is important not just for us as political representatives but also for the communities we represent.

SDLP members met with policing chiefs this week.
SDLP members met with policing chiefs this week.

"Our discussions ranged from dealing with legacy investigations, rural crime and dealing with an ever increasing drug problem in our society.  As our discussions turned to Brexit the PSNI said they too share our desire that a Brexit Deal will be reached and oppose any return to the border structures of the past.  They made it clear that they are not contemplating any return of security structures and this is a welcome commitment.

"In recent weeks the Chief Constable George Hamilton announced his intention to retire later this year and this was swiftly followed by the gaff by Mary Lou McDonald about the eligibility of some serving police officers to apply for the top job in policing here.  Mary Lou’s comments were wrong and ill-advised.  This appointment process is a Human Resources function and must be above politics and political interventions.

"However, my concern is more about the impact of her comments on policing.  Policing reforms were hard won here.  Séamus Mallon, Alex Attwood and Eddie McGrady led the discussions which seen the delivery of the Patton Report and the reform of policing here.  The police must have our full support, as should the rule of law.  Any deviation from that position can have serious political consequences, not to mention the impact on serving police officers.  The Chief Constable and the Police are accountable to the Policing Board. We must ensure that the all sections of our community have confidence in the Police Service and they must feel it is a career they can safely pursue.’

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