Belfast Telegraph

Top PSNI officers retract letter justifying Derry mayor home raid

By Donna Deeney

The PSNI has retracted a letter sent to Derry City Council's town clerk in July which described a police raid on the mayor's home as proportionate.

Police had already issued a grovelling apology for the search of Councillor Kevin Campbell's home in the Creggan area of Londonderry on July 12.

In an embarrassing climbdown, Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones and District Commander Stephen Martin publicly apologised for the search.

At the time, Town Clerk Sharon O'Connor wrote to the PSNI asking for an explanation for the search on the mayor's home and also the seizing of mobile phones and two laptops.

On July 19 — in a letter signed by Assistant Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargan on behalf Mr Martin — Mrs O'Connor was told that police observed two males make off from the house and enter subsequent addresses, including the mayor's home.

It said: “In order to arrest those involved and secure and preserve evidence, all addresses were contained and searched. One suspect was arrested at one of the addresses.

“These searches were proportionate to the circumstances pertaining at the time and under the authority of a Magistrate's Warrant.”

Now, in a second letter to Mrs O’Connor, the PSNI in Foyle said it was wrong to have searched the mayor's home.

The letter, a copy of which is held by the North West Telegraph, not only retracts the earlier communication, but reiterates the apology Mr Jones made to Mr Campbell (left).

The PSNI also promised to work hard to restore and repair relations between the police and the community across Derry.

The letter, signed by Mr Jones, reads: “Further to the letter of 19 July 2012, I would like to retract the content as it relates to the Mayor and advise that Chief Superintendent Martin and I personally met with the Mayor of Derry and his wife on Monday, 20 August where I wholeheartedly apologised on behalf of the Chief Constable and acknowledge that a mistake was made.”

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