Northern Ireland news

Police criticised over arrest of woman during New IRA search

Three police officers held the woman down during Thursday's arrest operation.
Seamus McKinney

Police have been accused of heavy-handedness in their arrest of a woman during a 12-hour police search in Derry's Creggan on Thursday.

Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership spokesman, Conal McFeely compared images of the woman's arrest to those from a London vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard, after which police were widely criticised.

“How is it acceptable either in Creggan or Clapham for police to treat women this way?” Mr McFeely asked.

The incident occurred after the woman remonstrated with police during a search operation as part of investigations into the New IRA. A 52-year-old man was arrested in connection with the investigation.

In footage of the incident, a policeman appears to be kneeling on the woman while another attempts to place her in handcuffs. As the woman turns her head, the officer who was kneeling on top of her is seen pushing her face away with his hand.

Police said a 44-year-old woman was arrested for a public order offence and later released.

Derry district commander, Darrin Jones said the matter would be dealt with “by way of a penalty notice”.

Chief Superintendent Jones did not comment on claims that police adopted a heavy-handed approach. He said the majority of people welcomed the PSNI action against dissident republicans and he would be happy to meet elected representatives to discuss the operation.

“It was hugely frustrating and concerning to see that the disorder that broke out was being instigated in the background by people who clearly wanted to disrupt the search activity.”

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