Call for NI violence zero tolerance
Published 13/11/2012 | 00:08
Concerted zero tolerance action is needed to end terrorism in Northern Ireland, the Police Federation for the province has said.
An extra 1,000 officers should be recruited and the judiciary needs to impose more maximum prison sentences, chairman Terry Spence said.
This month prison officer David Black was gunned down on a motorway as he drove to work at Maghaberry high security prison, Co Antrim. Two soldiers and two policemen have also been killed by dissident republicans in recent years.
Mr Spence said: "Politicians standing shoulder to shoulder after each atrocity is a welcome signal of condemnation and steadfastness but it must lead to concerted action to bring the terrorist campaign to an end.
"Unless we take the serious and effective steps of a policy of zero tolerance then the economic and political prospects of our new democracy will be worn down by attrition. That attrition is the death and serious injury, year in year out, of public servants who have dedicated their lives to the protection of this community."
Mr Spence, who is to address a meeting of police federations from across the UK in Manchester, added: "Pretending that we are dealing with minuscule terrorist groups is simply self-deceiving wishful thinking.
"These people may be politically misguided lunatics but they have become a lethal force which needs a legally-based aggressive response from the Executive, the PSNI and the judiciary. More information and intelligence leading to convictions is needed from the wider community at all levels."
Every year police intervene in riots following loyal order parades. Since 2005 more than 1,100 officers have been injured and several medically discharged because of public order breakdown, the federation chairman said. Dissident republicans have fought pitched battles with police in Ardoyne in north Belfast.
Mr Spence demanded that the Londonderry-based Republican Action Against Drugs should be outlawed and loyalists guilty of breaking the terms of their licence for early release from prison following the Good Friday peace accord must be recalled to prison.
A Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman said: "The Government keeps the status of all paramilitary organisations under review."