Posted By: April 03, 2014


IN his first annual report HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor said it is the first duty of police to prevent crime and to keep people safe. On Sunday in Larne the PSNI failed to accomplish either.

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. The reason is not simply the Keystone Kops pantomime chasing UDA thugs around the town, but because of the deliberate strategic failure to deal with Loyalist paramilitaries, not just at the weekend or in 2013 but over the past forty years. There are important questions about the failure to prevent crime and protect people on Sunday. First, the police had information about a mob gathering in Carrickfergus then setting off in convoy. Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “the assessment was that they were probably meeting in Carrickfergus to move on somewhere else.”

You didn’t have to be Inspector Morse to deduce that they weren’t planning to present flowers for Mothering Sunday. Yet they were allowed to ‘move on’ although it was certain they were acting in common purpose to commit violent crime. But hey, it’s the UDA , so that’s OK. Any road blocks, any police car following? Nah.

When they arrived to wreck three houses the police were ‘overwhelmed’. When two units of the tactical Support group arrived, quickly it should be said, the mob, mission accomplished, fled. No arrests. No roadblocks on the way back to Carrick. Good eh? Of course, there will be arrests but the guys were masked and who will give evidence against them? The UDA is a criminal conspiracy. It is illegal, though only since 1992 after the group, in collusion with MI5, RUC and UDR had killed hundreds of Catholics. Its leaders today are well known and publicly named. Indeed, one Sunday newspaper devotes its first 10 pages each week to regaling its readers with the latest low-life exploits of UDA and UVF gangsters and helpfully provides photos of the same men. It’s common knowledge who the leader of the UVF is and where he lives on the Shankill. It’s common knowledge who the UVF leader in east Belfast is and, for that matter, his second in command who has recently been convicted.

Despite this comprehensive intelligence and the fact that for decades the security forces have known in detail the inner workings of Loyalist terrorist groups, indeed have in effect run some of them as proxy killers of Republicans, only a miniscule fraction of the resources devoted to pursuing Republican micro-groups is allocated to Loyalist organised crime. Unionist politicians, following the example of the NIO over years, are inexcusably silent about this state of affairs. Some snuggle far too close to Loyalist criminals. The net result? Unionist communities in the greater Belfast area have been systematically destroyed by the UVF and UDA, amazingly with the connivance of some unionist politicians who are supposed to be representing those same districts. There are unionist politicians who strive to shovel money into these organised criminal conspiracies and have acquiesced in them taking over community centres. Businesses close because of demands for protection money. No-one will open a new business. Dereliction ensues. Look at Bloomfield Avenue. Anyone who can gets out because they don’t want their sons forcibly recruited into the UDA or UVF. Laughably UVF/PUP spokesmen (there are no women) whine about the education of Protestant boys, yet it is these very same criminal gangs who fasten wickedly on those Protestant children and their families and have done for decades, dealing drugs and offering a career in organised crime as preferable to education. After all, there are no other jobs since the UVF and UDA have driven all other jobs away.

Why have the PSNI no strategy to break up these gangs? Why do they devote vast resources to prosecuting people for killings the UVF and UDA carried out a generation ago? Why are there no delegations of unionist politicians demanding that the police take action against these organised crime gangs?

Why are unionist politicians happy to sit on policing boards alongside UVF and UDA men who are destroying their own communities? Why does the UDA encourage unionist voters to vote DUP? Because they know the DUP betrays its own voter