Top PSNI officer Nigel Grimshaw hits out at 'dark side' claims on policing
A senior PSNI officer has hit back at claims of a "dark side" to policing following the political furore at the arrest of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw rejected claims by Sinn Fein figures, including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, that the arrest of Mr Adams was driven by so-called dark forces within the PSNI.
The high-ranking police officer described the comments as "sinister".
Mr Adams was detained for four days' questioning in relation to the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville in 1972.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Superintendents' Association in Belfast, Mr Grimshaw said: "The law is very clear, the Police Act of 2000 charges the police service with a responsibility to investigate crime. All of our officers have to follow this duty, in the words of Sir Robert Peel, 'without fear or favour'.
"It does not matter whether that officer is a neighbourhood officer, in a response vehicle or in a detective unit. As an association, we reject all attempts to differentiate between our members and to single out as being different, those who lead on serious and terrorist crime."
He added: "In carrying out criminal investigations, police officers are simply acting on behalf of the victims of crime and society in the search for justice. The multitude of victims of our troubled past can only look to the criminal justice system to do that on their behalf."
Mr Grimshaw – who is president of the association – said politicians must work for consensus on contentious issues such as parades and the past.
He said it was perhaps "time to disaggregate the past, parades and protest and seek individual approaches rather than composite solutions".
He added that police recognised any solution for the past must address the pain of victims and their relatives.
Mr Grimshaw also said it was vital more officers and support staff be recruited by police "expeditiously".