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Police failure to label crimes as sectarian to be brought up with top cop

PSNI challenged on labelling of crimes against nationalists

By Staff Reporter

The failure of the PSNI to investigate incidents against the nationalist community in North Belfast as sectarian will be brought up in a meeting between Sinn Féin and the police today (Thursday, August 8).

MLA Carál Ní Chuilín will lead a delegation of elected representatives to meet with Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn regarding a number of recent incidents.

Councillor Danny Lavery, who will also attend the meeting, said they would be bringing up a number of points that they say need addressed.

“There’s been a serious concern from the start of the summer that the PSNI have failed to declare some attacks on the nationalist community as sectarian or hate crimes

“This is in contrast to their approach to other incidents which were either sectarian attacks on unionist communities or in the case of the Waterworks incident (where a man had his ear bitten off on July 10) wasn’t sectarian and thus had to be amended. All sectarian attacks are wrong and need to be dealt with on the same serious basis.”

He said the ongoing attacks on a Rosapenna Street auto yard were a particular cause for concern.

“The attacks at Rosapenna were clearly sectarian and it has taken a considerable length of time to declare them as such. We have raised these concerns several times and are meeting the PSNI this week at a senior level to demand transparent and equal policing for all.

“We will be asking for answers particularly on the Rosapenna incidents as failure to declare them as sectarian has played some part in them being treated as very serious hate crimes and appropriate resources being tasked to end them.

“There’s no place for sectarianism in the community and the PSNI need to be sensitive when dealing with these issues

“That means not rushing to say something is sectarian when it’s not and declaring it sectarian when the clear evidence is there as in the Rosapenna case.”

The North Belfast News attempted to secure a list of sectarian attacks recorded in North Belfast over the July period, but a police spokesman said they would only provide the information via a Freedom of Information application.

Despite the owner of the Rosapenna Street auto yard declaring the incident to be sectarian the PSNI continued to describe it as arson until challenged by this newspaper when they said they would be investigating a sectarian motive.



BY Evan Short

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