Belfast Telegraph

Policing Board row over PSNI handling of journalists' arrest

A member of the Policing Board has voiced concern at comments by two colleagues after they criticised the PSNI's handling of a case
A member of the Policing Board has voiced concern at comments by two colleagues after they criticised the PSNI's handling of a case

By Staff Reporter

A member of the Policing Board has voiced concern at comments by two colleagues after they criticised the PSNI's handling of a case.

Last week the PSNI was ordered by Northern Ireland's most senior judge to return documents seized from two journalists. However, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey remain under police investigation over the alleged theft of a Police Ombudsman document about the UVF murders of six men in Loughinisland in 1994.

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly said police "made a huge error of judgment", while Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly called for the probe to be dropped.

However, UUP Policing Board member Alan Chambers said such comments were beyond their remit.

"Operational matters and decisions taken by the PSNI are entirely the responsibility of the Chief Constable," he said. "Holding the Chief Constable to account for his operational actions is the role of the Policing Board and I believe that these public comments from two members of the board are a clear attempt to interfere in and influence operational decisions, and are extremely unwise."

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