Northern Ireland

PSNI: Anti-police recruitment posters branded 'cruel and disgusting'

PSNI passing out parade
Image caption A PSNI recruitment campaign was launched earlier this month

Anti-police recruitment posters in parts of Londonderry showing Peadar Heffron, a Catholic officer seriously wounded by a dissident Republican bomb, have been removed.

The deputy chief constable, Mark Hamilton, described them "as cruel and disgusting."

The move comes as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) attempts to attract more Catholics in a new recruitment campaign.

Sinn Féin also condemned the posters.

They were put up in parts of Derry on Tuesday evening but have now been removed.

Mr Heffron, who was captain of the PSNI GAA team, lost a leg when a bomb exploded under his car near Randalstown in 2010 and now uses a wheelchair.

Dissident group Óglaigh na hÉireann later claimed responsibility.

Mr Hamilton said in a statement the posters were made by "those who fear a fully representative police service."

It added: "The cowards who hide behind this fake rhetoric and who ridicule the resolve, commitment and bravery of every person who works every day to keep each of you safe, have nothing to offer our society and should be condemned by all right thinking people.

'Threaten and intimidate'

"I would urge anyone who comes across these posters, either online or physically, not to share or circulate this material further."

The Northern Ireland Policing Board said it welcomed the widespread political and community condemnation of the posters, which were "an attempt to threaten and intimidate potential applicants".

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill was among those who attended last week's PSNI recruitment event

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood condemned the posters and described them as an "attempt to intimidate the people of the city."

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson described the posters as "crass and offensive."

She added: "Those responsible for erecting these posters have nothing to offer, they have no politics and no strategy to achieve anything."

The move comes after Sinn Féin's deputy leader revealed police have told her dissident republicans are planning an attack on herself and party colleague Gerry Kelly.

Michelle O'Neill is NI's deputy first minister, and Mr Kelly is the party's policing spokesperson.

They both attended the launch of the new PSNI recruitment campaign last week.

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