Different Name, Same Aim

A New Beginning?

Out with the old...In November 2001, amid much fanfare, the British government re-branded the discredited Royal Ulster Constabulary with a new name, the Police Service of Northern Ireland. With the new name, the occupying power promised ‘a new beginning’ to policing in the Six Counties.

Almost a decade later, it is now abundantly clear that, instead of delivering a ‘new beginning’, the PSNI has simply continued with the same failed anti-working class and anti-republican agenda of the RUC and Royal Irish Constabulary before them. The lie of ‘community-based’ policing has been exposed by the reality of increased draconian legislation, harassment and brutality.

Since its conception the PSNI has:

  • Introduced 28-day detention to the Six Counties.
  • Introduced Taser stun guns to the Six Counties.
  • Introduced CS gas spray to the Six Counties.
  • Fired plastic bullets at unarmed civilians and stockpiled more than 50,000 of these lethal projectiles.
  • Updated its vast arsenal of weapons including automatic assault rifles and heavily armoured vehicles.
  • Expanded the already extensive network of ‘big brother’ style cameras and other surveillance equipment.
  • Ignored the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights by continuing to use ‘Section 44’ for unlawful ‘stop and searches’. In 2009 the PSNI carried out more than 20,000 ‘stop and searches’, almost exclusively against republicans....In with the new.
  • Flouted EU law by retaining DNA samples and fingerprints of thousands of innocent people, including children.
  • Regularly suppressed legitimate peaceful political protests.
  • Worked hand in glove with both the British army and M15, acting as the local ‘eyes and ears’ of the British state in the occupied Six Counties.

Different Name – Same Aim

Throughout history, Britain has deployed a wide range of tactics to maintain its occupation of Ireland. Coercion, negotiation, bribery, betrayal and blackmail have all been used at various times by the British state to suppress the right of the Irish people to self-determination.

Regardless of these differing tactics, however, one element of British strategy in Ireland has remained constant for centuries – that of the locally recruited militia. From the Yeomanry of the 18th Century, to the Ulster Defence Regiment of the 20th Century to the paramilitary PSNI of this century, the objective of these forces remains unchanged.

Despite the new name and the change of uniform the primary aim of the PSNI remains the same as the RUC, RIC and B-Specials before it. That aim? To protect the British state and British interests in Ireland.

Front Line Force

The British government and its allies in Ireland continuously claim that the PSNI is a normal police service for a normal state. Nothing could be further from the truth. The PSNI is just the frontline force of Britain’s ‘Axis of Evil’ in Ireland, with the British army and MI5 forming the other two elements of Britain’s tripartite of occupation forces in Ireland – with the British Army and the MI5 forming the other two elements.

British Army
In 2009, the PSNI confirmed that the British army’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment was active in the Six Counties. The SSR – which is closely linked to the notorious SAS – is only part of the ‘permanent garrison’ of 5,000 British combat troops based in Ireland. These troops, and further reinforcements from Britain, can be rapidly deployed onto Irish streets and into Irish fields should the British government decide to do so. These troops answer directly to the British prime minister, not Stormont.

MI5
Palace BarracksIn 2007, MI5 took the lead role in gathering ‘national security intelligence’ [i.e. protecting the interests of the British state] in Ireland, a role which had previously been held by the PSNI. In the same year, the largest MI5 facility outside of its London headquarters opened in the grounds of the British army’s Palace Barracks on the outskirts of Belfast. Whilst shrouded in secrecy, it is believed that this facility alone can cater for more than 400 MI5 operatives.

At a cost of £20 million [€25 million], this massive building bears testament to Britain’s long term intentions in Ireland. And, just like the PSNI and the British army, M15 takes its orders from 10 Downing Street, not Stormont.

‘Transfer of Powers’ Will Change Nothing

On February 5th 2010 the British government announced its intention to transfer ‘policing and justice’ powers to Stormont. Even if this transfer were to occur it will affect neither the function or the form of the PSNI.

The PSNI will remain a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British ‘justice’ system. Like police forces across the capitalist world its primary aim will remain the protection of the state and the interests of the ruling class; interests which run in direct contradiction to the interests of the working class.

éirígí understands there can be no meaningful ‘reform’ of British policing in Ireland, just as there can be no meaningful ‘reform’ of policing within the capitalist Twenty-Six County state. It is only through the restoration of national democracy and through the equitable redistribution of power and wealth that the long-term solutions to the issues of crime, policing and justice in Ireland can be found.

 

Click on the links below to read stories related to British policing from the éirígí news archive:

10/12/12: PSNI action against Ardoyne residents criticised.... A spokesperson for the socialist republican party, éirígí, has criticised a PSNI operation directed against residents of Ardoyne in north Belfast.....read more>>

06/12/12: Nationalist withdrawal from Six County policing bodies must follow highly critical report.... éirígí general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith has welcomed a major report by the Committee on the Administration of Justice investigating the links between MI5 and the PSNI.....read more>>

01/12/12: Political Repression Behind Charging of Newry éirígí Activist.... A spokesperson for the socialist republican party, éirígí, has described the PSNI’s actions in pressing charges against one of the party’s members as a blatant but crude attempt at political censorship.....read more>>

30/11/12: Further example of political policing in Newry.... éirígí spokesperson John McCusker has said that an early morning raid upon the home of one of their activists, Stephen Murney, and his subsequent arrest in Newry yesterday demonstrates yet again the political nature of the PSNI.....read more>>

    19/11/12: A Busy Day in Newry....

    14/11/12: Protest Against Ardoyne Court Ruling....

    13/11/12: éirígí slam arrest and detention of Newry member as political policing....

    06/11/12: éirígí criticise heavy handed PSNI raids in Newry....

    29/10/12: PSNI Death Threat Against Newry Activist Condemned....

    22/10/12: Political Artwork Ensures the Writing’s on the Wall....

    15/10/12: éirígí Slam Newry Normalisation Stunts....

    21/09/12: éirígí Newry Rejects PSNI ‘Engagement’....

    05/09/12: Spooks in Failed Attempt to Recruit Newry Man to Spy on éirígí Member....

    02/09/12: PSNI Target Charity Workers in Newry....

    27/08/12: ‘Know Your Rights’ Campaign Launched in Newry....

    21/08/12: Faceless Operatives Targeting Real People....

    19/08/12: éirígí Newry meets with human rights group CAJ....

    17/08/12: PSNI accused of covering-up unionist attack on Armagh church....

    09/08/12: éirígí to Launch ‘Know Your Rights’ Campaign in Newry....

    26/06/12: Policing Communities: Race, Class and the State....

    13/06/12: PSNI Assault Newry Republican....

    26/05/12: PSNI Provocation Leads to Newry Riot....

    21/05/12: PSNI Confirm the Reality of Political Policing....

    02/05/12: ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign launched in Belfast....

    29/04/12: Court Upholds Spurious PSNI Charges Against éirígí Activist....

    19/04/12: State Force Provocation Continues in Newry....

    08/04/12: At War With Our Dead in Life and Death....

    13/03/12: We’re Not Spooked....

    07/03/12: Police Harassment Motion Blocked in Newry....

    25/02/12: PSNI harassment motion to be debated at Newry Council meeting....

    18/01/12: Three Quarters of PSNI Staff were RUC Members....

    21/12/11: PSNI Harassment Must Stop....

    04/12/11: PSNI Hold Schoolchildren at Gunpoint....

    26/11/11: Political Policing in Ireland – Ten Years of the RUC/PSNI....

    25/11/11: British Navy and PSNI Out of Dublin....

    03/11/11: Another Day in ‘Normalised’ Newry....

    27/10/11: First Court Appearance for Newry éirígí Activist....

    17/10/11: A Sign of the Times....

    06/10/11: Radicalism on the rise at Queens....

    29/09/11: Newry éirígí Activist Arrested & Beaten....

    21/09/11: Mac Cionnaith Condemns Lurgan Raids....

    09/08/11: PSNI Harassment on the Rise....

    15/07/11: Annual Orgy of Sectarianism Highlighted in Ardoyne....

    03/07/11: Newry Protest Against Harassment....

    30/06/11: Collusion and Cover-up – a truth not to be revealed....

    20/06/11: Protest Highlights Harassment....

    22/04/11: House raids, riots and harassment in Newry....

    21/03/11: PSNI Harassment: Did Someone Mention Manners?....

    26/01/11: Persecution of Newry Republican....

    18/12/10: PSNI Provoke Riot in Newry....

    31/10/10: Anti-PSNI Harassment Protest....

    25/10/10: Protest Against PSNI Harassment in Newry....

    13/10/10: The Truth Hurts for Gun Toting PSNI....

    13/10/10: Crime a No Go Area for PSNI....

    29/09/10: PSNI Harassment in Newry....

    21/07/10: Different Legislation, Same Harassment....

    09/07/10: éirígí warn of rise in equally abhorrent powers after Section 44 suspension....


    06/07/10: Plastic Bullet Use Must Carry Consequences....

    01/07/10: Stop & Search Slammed Again by Human Rights Court....

    22/06/10: Political Policing in Newry....

    25/05/10: Political ‘Stop and Search’ powers used almost 35,000 times – repression clearly on the increase....


    26/03/10: PSNI Harassment of éirígí Activists in Newry....

    28/02/10: Plastic Bullet Brutality in Craigavon....

    28/02/10: Republican Dublin Says No to the PSNI....

    27/02/10: Republican Belfast Says No to the PSNI....

    23/02/10: Republican Fermanagh Says No to the PSNI....

    18/02/10: Woodward Using an Al Qaeda Smokescreen....

    14/02/10: Republican Newry Says No to the PSNI....

    10/02/10: Anti-PSNI Protest – British Embassy, Dublin, February 27....

    10/02/10: Leeson interview on BBC’s Spotlight programme....

    10/02/10: Stop & Search Figures Double in Five Years....

    08/02/10: Opposing British Repression....

    07/02/10: Protest Against Section 44 & the PSNI....

    05/02/10: Worrying Times for Vulnerable Nationalist Communities....

    29/01/10: Internal Settlement Fails Again....

    22/01/10: Fírinne Protest Against Section 44....

    21/01/10: Ruling on Stop & Search Greeted by the Sound of Silence....

    12/01/10: Stop & Search Illegal Says European Court....

    22/12/09: Welcome to Occupied Ireland....

    07/12/09: PSNI Teaches Israel Tricks of Apartheid Trade....

    03/12/09: Baggott Suppressing the Truth on Shoot-to-Kill....

    30/11/09: PSNI Facilitating Intimidation in Portadown....

    16/11/09: PSNI Repression on the Rise....

    11/11/09: Shoot-to-Kill Cover-Up Continues....

    07/10/09: Inquiry Needed Into Brady Death....

    17/09/09: McCabe Family Back Plastic Bullets Motion....

    08/09/09: Ireland’s Largest Council Calls For Plastic Bullets To Be Banned....

    04/09/09: Rights Campaigner Backs Plastic Bullets Motion....

    02/09/09: Ciapann PSNI Feachtasóir Íobartach/ PSNI Harass Victims Campaigner

    01/09/09: Emergency Anti-Plastic Bullet Motion Submitted to Dublin Council....

    31/08/09: Political Policing – Continuing Injustice

    06/08/09: Oppose Britain’s State of Repression....

    21/07/09: Oppose Plastic Bullets and Twenty-Eight Day Detention....

    17/07/09: RFJ Hit Out at PSNI on Plastic Bullet Use

    14/07/09: Ardoyne: In the Eye of a Sectarian Storm....

    28/06/09: Right to Protest Suppressed by Riot Squad in Belfast....

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