PSNI only force in Belfast says police chief after 'punishment' attack on couple
Police in Northern Ireland have insisted that the PSNI is the only police force in West Belfast after a man and his wife were shot in their own home in a punishment-style attack.
Chief Inspector Norman Haslett said three masked and armed men took "law and order into their own hands" and shot the couple in the legs at an address in Norglen Parade in the Turf Lodge area of the city at 6.15pm on Thursday.
He described the couple's ordeal as "horrific" and said those responsible have "no moral compass whatsoever".
"People have taken law and order into their own hands and assumed the role of judge and jury and have passed the sentence. There is one police service in West Belfast and that is the Police Service of Northern Ireland," he said.
Mr Haslett said a number of lines of inquiry were being followed, but it is understood that one is that the man and woman, in their 50s, were shot while protecting their son.
"Thankfully the injuries are not life-threatening but the ordeal and trauma they went through must have been quite horrific," he said.
"This was a brutal and callous attack on a defenceless couple in their house. The people who did this have no moral compass whatsoever.
"We had a shooting in West Belfast before Christmas where a young 16-year-old boy was shot. We now have a couple shot in their own home. I am not linking them but this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable.
"The criminals who did this just want to drag us into the past. The people who did this should get off the backs of the community. The community don't want them."
Sinn Fein MLA for the area Pat Sheehan said none of the family were involved in criminality.
"The shooting of a man and woman in their 50s at a house in Norglen Parade in Turf Lodge was wrong and I condemn it," he said.
"There can be absolutely no justification for these type of actions.
"Whoever is responsible needs to stop these barbaric attacks immediately.
"I would call on anyone with information on this attack to bring it forward to the PSNI."
Alliance Party justice spokesman Trevor Lunn also condemned the shootings.
"Yet again we see guns on the streets of Belfast," he said.
"There can be no justification for this type of attack and whoever was behind it needs to be condemned without equivocation."
SDLP MLA for the area Alex Atwood described the double shooting as "the latest act of tyranny in West Belfast".
Secretary of State James Brokenshire said he was "sickened" by news of the latest shooting and described it as a "cowardly act of violence that has no place in our society".
"I urge anyone with information to contact the police."