PSNI criticised over leaflets

  • Published

The PSNI has been criticised for publishing leaflets with pictures of young people they want to question in connection with interface trouble.

Over the last year in Londonderry, police have published 204 pictures of people in local newspapers.

Of those images, 155 people have been identified. Of those, 135 have been arrested, charged or given a caution.

Social policy lecturer Goretti Horgan said publishing the pictures is criminalising children.

The leaflets were posted through letter-boxes across Derry this week.

"We live in a society where it's as if we've decided there are two kinds of children. There are children who need to be protected, who are our future," said Ms Horgan.

"It seems to me the children who are in that leaflet, and in the newspapers, are children who are seen as not having the right to protection."

Ms Horgan said she was horrified to see the images.

"Those children who are identified by the newspapers, when they are then brought to court the same newspapers cant give their names because they are under-18," she added.

"Because children have a particular right to privacy and a particular right to protection."

PSNI Inspector John Burrows said they had consulted a human rights adviser "who said this is proportionate and lawful".

"Every image in the leaflet has already been in the paper and was not identified. It relates to sectarian disorder at the Fountain interface.

"We had the worst May and the worst June for sectarian disorder at the interface for five years. We needed to do something about it.

"The moment we started putting those pictures in the paper the violence at the Fountain interface stopped."

Insp Burrows added that only those who have committed serious crimes had been charged.

"How can we protect the young people until we identify them and start taking them away from sectarian behaviour," he said.

"Most of the young people we've arrested have not been charged. They've been put into youth conferencing or they've been brought into social services."