Why is it that Michelle O'Neill has created a crisis out of a ham-fisted, insensitive police action on the Ormeau Road, at the conclusion of the annual commemoration of the murders of five innocent Catholic men at Sean Graham's bookie's shop?
The PSNI Chief Constable, on learning of this poorly handled incident, swiftly and sensibly took immediate action to address the natural anger and concerns of those families involved, by suspending a police officer and repositioning another.
Both officers were apparently young and inexperienced and were unaware of the annual commemoration and, presumably, its local sensitivities.
Their intervention was intended to disperse a gathering of people meeting in apparent contravention of the Covid-19 public health restrictions.
The public, observing this incident from social media videos, were naturally troubled about this clumsy intervention.
In due course, the Police Ombudsman's report into the incident will establish the full circumstances and will bring some satisfaction to the grieving families hurt by this incident.
And that is the way this incident should have been handled. The Police Ombudsman's office was set up specially to address such incidents impartially and to make an independent judgment.
But the Deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill, declared: "I think anybody who considers all those things in the round would understand that there is certainly a crisis in confidence in policing among the nationalist community."
So, arising out of a crass policing intervention, a crisis in confidence in policing is heralded by Sinn Fein's northern leader. This was a disproportionate response by Sinn Fein to a disturbing incident that will be fully addressed.
Perhaps Michelle O'Neill and Sinn Fein failed to understand that the PSNI are accountable and responsible to the Policing Board, on which Sinn Fein sits.
A cynic might suggest that, with the potentially damaging Bobby Storey funeral report and the Stakeknife investigation coming down the tracks, that maybe a little distraction, discrediting the PSNI, might be of some tactical advantage. In fact, the Policing Board met last Thursday and expressed its collective confidence in Simon Byrne, the Chief Constable.
The Sinn Fein members on the board, despite this incident and the "crisis of confidence in policing among the nationalist community" that it supposedly created, supported Byrne.
Sinn Fein need to decide whether or not their support for the PSNI is merely conditional.
Of course, like the slow learners that they were in coming to accept the Good Friday Agreement, it also took Sinn Fein six years from the founding of the PSNI in November 2001 until 2007 to take their seats on the Policing Board and play a responsible role in supporting the new policing structures and the attainment of community policing.
The PSNI is one of the great achievements arising out of the Good Friday Agreement. Much of which is due to the enormous commitment and work of Seamus Mallon, who saw policing as an essential part of the new north that he was committed to creating. That achievement of establishing a police service that now enjoys the confidence of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland is a huge step forward. It is too great and valuable an accomplishment to play about with.
Responsible politicians must support the police in the general exercise of their public duties, which can be very difficult, given the sectarian divisions within our society.
That is why our Police Service must be numerically reflective of the political/religious make-up of the community.
In this regard, the police have been successful in recruiting around 32% of Catholics into its ranks.
But in order to maintain and increase the level of recruitment, there should be a reintroduction of 50/50 recruitment.
Without that radical measure, there could be a serious decline in Catholic membership. That would be highly damaging.
The PSNI are not perfect and there is still a distance to go before it achieves its goal of community policing.
It does - and will continue to - make mistakes, but to counter-balance that, we have the Policing Board to whom they are fully accountable.
As Dolores Kelly, the long-serving SDLP member of the Policing Board has wisely observed: "The board has an enormous task ahead to provide both support and challenge to the PSNI, not only to recover lost ground on recruitment and other issues, but to foresee the challenges ahead. The first board stepped up to the challenge to implement Patten and the current board must do likewise."
Chris Patten gave us a wonderful legacy in his reforms of policing. Let us value them and make them even more successful. No longer should the police be a whipping boy when our politics go sour.