SF and police at loggerheads over breathalyser incident

Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell has told us police said no breathalysers were available

Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell has told us police said no breathalysers were available
By Conor McParland

An extraordinary claim that no breathalyser units were available in North Belfast to test drivers after a major collision has led to a war of words between Sinn Féin and the PSNI.

It’s been claimed by Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Ellen Campbell that during a debate on road safety, police told those present at last week’s District Police and Community Safety Partner-ship (DPCSP) meeting that no breathalyser units were available after a bad collision. But contacted by the North Belfast News, the PSNI said yesterday the claim was “incorrect”.

Local residents had voiced their anger after a serious incident in the New Lodge resulted in two cars being seriously damaged. Neither of the drivers involved were breathalysed at the scene.

Councillor Campbell said the issue was deeply worrying to local people.

“I raised the major concerns of residents and elected representatives with the PSNI at the local DPCSP meeting regarding the lack of availability of breathalyser units in North Belfast last week after an incident in the New Lodge area,” she told the North Belfast News.

“PSNI confirmed that no breathalyser units were available after a serious incident in the New Lodge resulting in two cars being seriously damaged and residents voicing their anger that those responsible were not breathalysed at the scene.

“We are now hearing the PSNI state that breathalyser units were available yet none were used at this incident, which is completely contradictory to what we have been told previously. The PSNI need to establish why breathalyser units were not used in this New Lodge incident and why they are issuing two contradictory versions of events. We were further informed at our local multi-agency meeting earlier that day that no breathalyser units were available at the time in North Belfast. Given the numbers of deaths on our roads relating to drinking and driving this confusion from the PSNI is of major concern and this community needs clarity.”

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