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PSNI chief rejects claims of a 'dark side' to the force

Martin McGuinness said that elements in the PSNI were against the peace process.

Martin McGuinness made the 'dark side' claim during the unveiling of this mural.
Martin McGuinness made the 'dark side' claim during the unveiling of this mural.
Image: Niall Carson

PSNI CHIEF CONSTABLE Matt Baggott says that questioning the impartiality of his force “is both unfair and inappropriate”.

In a statement released this afternoon, Baggott refuted the accusation from Martin McGuinness that there is a ‘dark side’ of policing in the PSNI.

Speaking before the release of his party president Gerry Adams, the First Minister of Northern Ireland had said:

The arrest of Gerry Adams is evidence of that there is an element within the PSNI who are against the peace process and who hate Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin. They are – what the reformers within the PSNI have described to us as the Dark Side. They are small in number but very influential.

But Baggott has today come out against the accusation, arguing that there are several ways to investigate complaints of unfairness if anyone feels they exist.

“Under the Patten architecture, to which all political parties have signed up, there are numerous ways in which policing concerns can be addressed, notably through the independent Police Ombudsman, Policing Board or Human Rights Commissioner, ” he said.

“As such, questioning the motivation or impartiality of police officers tasked with investigating serious crime in this very public, generalised and vague manner, is both unfair and inappropriate.”

Upon his release from custody on Sunday, Adams made clear his support for the PSNI, saying that the aspects of his arrest he disagreed with were the use “pernicious coercive legislation” and the fact that they waited two months to talk to him after he made an offer of co-operation.

Baggott has responded today by saying that he feels the method of Adams’s detention was fair:

The arrest and questioning of Mr Adams was legitimate and lawful and an independent judge subsequently decided that there were grounds for further detention. Prosecutorial decisions will also be made independently by the PPS.

Baggott said that the PSNI is committed to pursuing its work “regardless of any undue pressures”, and that “it would have been wrong to treat Mr Adams any differently to other citizens”.

Read: “The dark side fear him”: McGuinness on Adams’ arrest >

Read: ‘I am innocent’ and 7 other things Gerry Adams had to say tonight >

IN FULL: Speech by Gerry Adams on his release from police custody >

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Rónán Duffy

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