Following the publication of the South Armagh Policing Review I have held frank and constructive meetings with the Northern Ireland Policing Board and a range of political representatives.

At a subsequent meeting this afternoon, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and a number of DUP representatives told me of deeply held community confidence concerns and their disillusionment arising from a series of policing issues in recent times.

I accept the importance of ensuring that there is widespread confidence in policing across all parts of our community. I reaffirmed my commitment to listening to unionist community concerns and rebuilding confidence.

We will continue with genuine engagement to ensure that local concerns and feedback are captured.

With regard to the South Armagh Review, it is clear from the many conversations that I have had that there is agreement on many of the operational policing improvements set out in the Review. I have made it clear to the Northern Ireland Policing Board, in media interviews and in the meetings I have held today that:

1. No memorials will be removed from, or moved within, our buildings (Recommendation 6).

2. At no time was it envisaged that there would be joint patrolling by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána.

The issue of hot pursuit will not be taken forward without the agreement of both governments. This recommendation will not, therefore, be progressed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

We will continue to seek to maximise the co-operation between both organisations in tackling crime and road safety in the border area. All cooperation will respect and adhere to the jurisdictional requirements on both sides of the border (Recommendations 45/46).

3. No action will be taken with regard to the use of Irish language unless it is in line with the approach being taken across the Northern Ireland public sector more widely (Recommendation 38).

Further clarity will be provided in a time-scaled implementation plan to the Policing Board in the coming weeks.


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