Questions about the police approach in Londonderry

DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton MLA has criticised the PSNI for jumping the gun in dismissing the veracity of a photograph appearing to show an individual dressed as a Hamas terrorist at a Halloween celebration in Londonderry.

On Thursday PSNI Chief Superintendent Nigel Goddard and Interim Chief Constable Jon Boutcher both suggested the image may have been “fake” or “some sort of artificial intelligence.” This has since been challenged by the emergence of further images and reports by members of the public.

By Gary Middleton MLA


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Commenting, Mr Middleton said:

“It is unacceptable that the PSNI rushed to rubbish the accuracy of this image without being in full receipt of the facts. Whilst I recognise that enquiries are still taking place, senior officers jumping the gun in this way will do precious little to assuage concerns about fair and effective policing. There are questions about the police approach to this matter.

The information I have received suggests there are those in the community who are in possession of footage and other evidence that could assist this investigation. It is crucial that those individuals are contacted and that fresh reports by concerned members of the public are followed up effectively.

Hamas are a proscribed organisation in the United Kingdom and many other countries throughout the world. The glorification of terrorism on our streets and at community celebrations attended by children and young people is perverse and must be stamped out. It is incumbent on all parties and agencies to send a strong message to those behind this incident and indeed all those intent on promoting violence – especially at a time when there are rising concerns over anti-Semitism locally.

I would encourage the PSNI not to be pressurised by fringe elements in relation to this issue and to keep focus on bringing those responsible for incident to justice.”

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