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DUP South Antrim MLA and Policing Board representative Trevor Clarke has expressed alarm at allegations that the PSNI officers have been instructed not to stop, fine or arrest members of dissident republican organisation Saoradh.

Commenting after pressing the Chief Constable for a categoric assurance that the police service will enforce the rule of law fully and rigorously toward those involved in supporting terrorist activity, Mr Clarke said:

‘‘The suggestion that police officers have been instructed not to take specific action against members of Saoradh, if substantiated, is astounding and once again raises serious question marks over the strategy adopted by the PSNI command.

Whilst I take at face value assurances by the Chief Constable and District Policing Command that no such instruction has been given, it is vital that there is a fuller examination of these claims to establish all the facts and ultimately restore public confidence.

In the past year, MI5 and the PSNI have jointly made huge strides in disrupting the New IRA including through Operation Arbacia, which took many of the group’s leading members off the streets and put them behind bars. It is absolutely vital that this impetus is not lost by affording this or others organisations the time and space to regroup and recruit.

The rule of law must be applied equally without fear or favour. The Chief Constable must move to address alarm at these reports and send a clear message that those who plan, participate in, or promote murder and violence will receive no respite and face the full rigour of the law.’’