Trevor Ringland offers a simple plan for getting nationalists to join the constabulary. Just "stop moaning", forget about British Army or Royal Ulster Constabulary "mistakes that sometimes had tragic consequences" and don constabulary uniforms. It would be easier to get past such "mistakes", if the new constabulary seemed more interested in uncovering truth about "mistakes" such as shoot-to-kill or collusion in murders.
Mr. Ringland writes wistfully of a Royal Ulster Constabulary where "religion was not an issue," virtual bystanders as "society descended into violence". Nationalists may remember the RUC differently as it enforced British rule and the Orange State, helped by the infamous B-Specials. The RUC dealt with civil rights by violence at Duke Street, or Burntollet Bridge, or with the fatal beating of Sammy Devenny and the "Battle of the Bogside".
During the "Troubles" Mr. Ringland says "the RUC was involved in 52 deaths." Books, documentaries, and court proceedings uncover mounting proof that British crown forces, including the RUC, colluded with loyalist agents in hundreds of state sponsored murders. The Good Friday Agreement, Patten recommendations, new name for the RUC, and new policing boards pledged a new British constabulary, which wanted justice, even where justice showed British troops or the RUC guilty.
Legacy cases tested these pledges. The PSNI seems more active pursuing journalists for naming Loughinisland killers, than in pursuing the killers. It fights the court ordered comprehensive investigation into 120 Glenanne Gang murders, including the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings and "Miami Showband Massacre." It opposes court orders to investigate and identify RUC or MoD officers behind the torture of the "Hooded Men." Stop and Search powers have been used to harass and hassle family members returning home from legacy inquests.
Should young nationalists join a constabulary which appears to deny truth, delay justice and wait as family members of legacy victims die without justice?
It is said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat its mistakes. If the PSNI continues its mistake of stalling truth in legacy cases, it will be wedded to the crown's "Troubles" misdeeds.