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eBay bins republican sniper badge after Hussey complaint

By Cate McCurry

Published 01/12/2016

the badge
the badge
The badge on eBay showing a PSNI officer with a target on his back

A Republican badge depicting a police officer with a target on his back has been removed from sale by eBay.

The item was listed as available for £5 after it was placed online by someone in Scotland.

The offensive badge was flagged up by Ulster Unionist MLA Ross Hussey.

EBay confirmed it had removed the item, which shows a PSNI officer in the cross-hairs of a rife, from its site and launched an investigation.

A spokesman for the company said it did not allow the sale of items "promoting or commemorating" hatred and violence.

"Items may not be permitted if they contravene this," the spokesman added.

"More than one billion items are listed on eBay across the globe, and in addition to our own efforts, reports from our community help to keep eBay free of listings of concern, which can be reported directly from the site.

"We conduct regular reviews of the eBay site to find offensive materials and remove them as soon as they are identified.

"Anyone found to be knowingly selling items of this kind will be investigated and face action including account restrictions or suspension."

Mr Hussey, a member of the Policing Board, raised the issue with the company.

He said he was made aware of the item by a member of the public who spotted it online.

"I thought it was disgusting when I saw it," Mr Hussey added. "I was really appalled that this sort of thing still goes on today.

"I wouldn't have thought it was something that when coming up to Christmas you would have someone quite happily trying to sell (a badge) encouraging people to kill police officers."

"I would be appalled at anybody putting something like that up for sale.

"The fact that it clearly stated PSNI, it's something that really shocked me.

"Police officers are well aware of the risk they undertake, but the fact that someone thinks it's right to wear this... I would question their sanity.

"We have just passed Remembrance Day, when we thought of police officers who were killed in this country.

"It's up to the public to report these matters, and it's good to see that eBay acted so quickly as I would not want anyone to make money out of badges that would support the killing of police officers.

"I hope, at some stage, someone appears before the courts in Scotland to face charges because you cannot get away with things like this."

It is understood police in Scotland are investigating the badge and the seller.

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