Statement from Assistant Chief Constable Crime Department, Mark McEwan on terrorism arrests.
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland arrested four men under the Terrorism Act as part of Operation Arbacia. This ongoing long term investigation continues to look at every aspect of the activities of the New IRA and involves a coordinated approach working in conjunction with our partners in MI5.
"These arrests are a continued demonstration of our commitment to use all tools at our disposal to reduce the threat posed by violent dissident republicans.
"Over the last two years police have continued to examine lines of enquiry in connection with this ongoing investigation into the activities of the New IRA. Yesterday’s arrests and examination of a public area in west Belfast is a significant development, in a long term enquiry, into this terrorist organisation.
“Two of the individuals have now been charged with a number of terrorist offences and are expected to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday 26 August.
“A 62 year old man has been charged with Belonging or professing to belonging to a Proscribed Organisation, Directing a Terrorist Organisation and Preparation of Terrorist Acts.
"A 51 year old man has also been charged with Belonging or professing to belonging to a Proscribed Organisation, Directing a Terrorist Organisation and Preparation of Terrorist Acts
“Two others, aged 30 and 27, have been released on report to the Public Prosecution Service
“Despite significant progress against the New IRA, we cannot be complacent in any way about investigating their activities. Those investigations are most effective when police and communities work together.
“We have witnessed, on numerous occasions, that they are willing to put the lives of local people at risk in their reckless haste to carry out bombings and shootings. Most starkly they have a chilling indifference to hiding lethally dangerous weapons and bombs in places where local people can easily stumble across them, unaware of the potential horrific consequences of touching them.
“We have seen time and time again that the New IRA does not care who the hurt or what they destroy. They do not care about the communities they come from – they care for no one. They are reckless, manipulative and they exploit.
“We have seen how they send young people onto the streets, how they don’t care if children are likely to find guns and explosives where they play.
“Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat of these violent groups but we need the help of the public.
"Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from the community in relation to their activities. Policing with the community is at the heart of what we do, we are committed to working with communities, towards meaningful change.”