Out of the Big Picture

Guest writer Hugh McAfee with some thoughts on the real power behind policing in the North. The writer draws on the CAJ document The Policing You Don’t See: Covert policing and the accountability gap - Five years on from the transfer of ‘national security’ primacy to MI5 which was published in 2012.

I thought it appropiate at this stage with so many being arrested and harrassed and Interned via Remand to highlight this on TPQ.

Prior to the 2007 transfer to MI5 a policy of ‘police primacy’ existed in which theRUC officially took the lead over other agencies with MI5 playing a small, strategic and subordinate role. However from the limited information which has become subsequently available there are indications MI5 played a much more influential role in practice and in effect dictated the terms of the overall security strategy in Northern Ireland.

MI5 took over the role of Policing in Northern Ireland in 2007. They have full control over PSNI. They are accountable to no one except the British Home Secretary, the NIO, and Secretary of state for Northern Ireland. They are at the heart of what has become known as Internment via Remand.

Even those on the policing board , when questioning the Chief Constable are not allowed to be told about anything concerning MI5 Security Matters , The Chief Constable has to have his Brief checked by MI5 before going into a meeting with the Policing Board.

Does this not prove how much MI5 (British Government) misrusts Ireland's own people with answers which it requires concerning Police harrasment on orders of MI5?

The devolution of justice powers in 2010 has also made clear there are a range of ‘national security’ powers which were not devolved but rather retained by the Northern Ireland Office. Defining MI5’s role in ‘national security’ policing is complex given that there is no official definition of the term. As the MI5 website makes clear:  'It has been the policy of successive Governments and the practice of Parliamentnot to define the term, in order to retain the flexibility necessary to ensure that the use of the term can adapt to changing circumstances.' In the run up to the St Andrews Agreement the PSNI Chief Constable stated MI5’s national security policing would only focus on republicans and not loyalists.

So , there we have it from the horse's mouth, They support Loyalists and want to target any republican, SF included: which was proven recently the arrest of Padraic Wilson, who was released after SF bussed supporters in to protest, and Alan Lundy (jnr). Now we have the latest fiasco - the arrest of John Downey.

Its time that people openened there eyes as to what is going on , especially SF supporters.

Stop and Search: questions have been raised as to the extent MI5 is directing the usage of emergency type stop and search powers which do not require individual reasonable suspicion; MI5 and special forces: in 2009 the PSNI announced they were calling in the British Army’s Special Recognisance Regiment (SRR). However an earlier court case indicates the SRR were operating some time before this date and there have been claims that the SRR report to MI5 and not the PSNI;

The transfer of ‘national security policing’ to MI5 in 2007

The intention to transfer the “lead responsibility for national security intelligence work” in Northern Ireland from PSNI to MI5 was first announced to Parliament in 2005. This made clear there would be no oversight powers for the post-Patten Policing Board and Police Ombudsman over MI5. It appears the motivation was in part to prevent Sinn Féin having a role in oversight and accountability with respect to ‘national security’.

That’s SF out of the big picture, especially SF members on the policing board.

They have no say in anything, I’m sure the Chief Constable has a little giggle when questioned by SF policing board members regarding the arrest of their members. He would give a wry smirk and state: Due to national Security I can not answer that question.


  1. You draw our attention to some good points here Hugh. Welcome to guesting on TPQ!!

  2. So much for putting manners on the RUC - but just when will Sinn Fein admit they got this all wrong...

  3. sean, has it ever crossed your mind that Gerry Kelly and co are quietly happy at "the defenders of the realm" MI5 containing the republican community while they soak up the gravy train that is project N.I.They will never admit they got it wrong because they now think its right!!!!

  4. treehugger-

    "containing the republican community"

    That is not possible-there is no power in this world that could contain the Republican people-none-

  5. michaelhenry:

    I would advise you to re-read treehugger's post, He ment SF and it's followers, not the whole Republican PEOPLE, two different entities , You's who work for the British ,and, US the proper Republicans who are against the British being on our Island.