PSNI delays due to dissident threat - Orde

 

Police in Northern Ireland are taking longer to respond to emergency calls because of the threat of attacks from dissident republicans, the chief constable of the PSNI said tonight.

Sir Hugh Orde added that in some areas officers were having to use armoured vehicles for their own safety.

"These are not people that have some political objective," he told BBC Radio 4.

"These people are criminals. They are using a flag of convenience, for want of a better description, to peddle death and mayhem in Northern Ireland."

Sir Hugh said dissidents just wanted "to carry on their criminal activities.

"These are not freedom fighters, so-called," he said.

Earlier this month the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which looks at paramilitary activity, warned republican renegades were more active than at any time in the last four and a half years.

It said they were trying to kill Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers.

In its 20th report, the IMC said dissidents have "engineered" public disorder to expose officers to attack.

It added the current political vacuum in Northern Ireland is likely being exploited by the groups.

In its report to the British and Irish governments, the IMC said dissidents had sought to raise tensions with loyalists during the parades season.

PA