Belfast Telegraph

Dissident threat ‘could delay police response’

Officers will have to exercise even greater levels of caution before setting out to deliver help and assistance, the PFNI said.

The threat of being ambushed by dissident republicans could slow the police response to calls for help from the public, officers warned (Brian Lawless/PA)
The threat of being ambushed by dissident republicans could slow the police response to calls for help from the public, officers warned (Brian Lawless/PA)

The threat of being ambushed by dissident republicans could slow the police response to calls for help from the public, officers warned.

They will have to exercise even greater levels of caution before setting out to deliver help and assistance, the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) said.

Republican renegades attempted to murder local police officers responding to a call from a member of the public in Craigavon, Co Armagh, this weekend. A viable explosive device was discovered.

PFNI chairman Mark Lindsay said: “Tullygally was a vicious attempt to murder colleagues who were responding to a call from a member of the public.

“In fact, it was a come-on, a deliberate attempt to lure them to a place where republican terrorists could mount their ambush.

“The officers in the vehicle escaped injury or death, and for that the police ‘family’ is hugely grateful.

“Officers operating in particular areas already exercise great caution. They are forced to risk assess and evaluate, and that, unfortunately, can lead to delays in responding to genuine calls from the public.”

On the back of this cold-blooded act at midnight on Friday, officers will have to be even more cautious, Mr Lindsay added.

He said: “No one expects officers to leave themselves vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and that must mean the very real prospect of slower response times.

“Our communities deserve a service free from the threat that is posed by terrorist murderers.

“When they call the police for help or intervention, they have a rightful expectation that officers will get to them as quickly as possible.

“Regrettably, and for very prudent and sensible reasons, that isn’t always possible.”

He said politicians and community leaders needed to work with the PSNI to rid their communities of “thugs and criminals”.

“For the sake of the vast number of decent people, they should up their game considerably.”

At about midnight on Friday, a loud bang was heard in the Tullygally Road area of the town.

Police said that a short time after the bang, they were contacted by a Belfast-based newspaper which said that a call had been made to it claiming a device had been fired at a police patrol, but had missed its target.

PA

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