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SF must support all counter-terrorism measures

The stark analysis by former PSNI Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter, highlighting the current perilous position of policing in Northern Ireland, encapsulates the folly of the timing of the Patten reforms.

It is impossible to combat the growing dissident republican threat with an emasculated police service designed, in essence, for law-enforcement in a 'normalised', terrorist-free society.

The brutal, clinical assassination of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh is the latest atrocity to highlight the urgent need to redress security. Another murder of a brave young policeman cannot be dismissed as a logged statistic in an acceptable level of violence and terror.

With all intelligence sources now indicating a growing dissident threat, claims that the transfer of Policing and Justice powers to Stormont would diminish the support for terrorist dissidents were clearly optimistic.

It is now incumbent on Justice Minister David Ford and Chief Constable Matt Baggott to show their mettle and act to urgently introduce the necessary anti-terrorist measures needed to combat the dissidents and bring the murderers to justice. It is also time for Sinn Fein to divorce themselves from their past IRA baggage and support initiatives for a proper security response.

Condemnation must be followed up by Sinn Fein casting off the psychology of violence and lending support to whatever counter-terrorism measures the Chief Constable will require to defeat the current dissident terrorist campaign.

COUNCILLOR SAMUEL COLE (DUP)

Coleraine Borough Council

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