Northern Ireland news

Men arrested in operation targeting INLA released on police bail

A PSNI officer filmed during an arrest operation in west Belfast this week
Connla Young

Six men arrested after an operation linked by police to the INLA have been released on bail pending further enquiries.

The men, 28, 36, 39, 42, 47 and 54, were detained on Tuesday in the Glen Road area of west Belfast.

During the Paramilitary Crime Task Force operation stun grenades were thrown by police while it is understood cutting equipment was also used by officers to try and gain entry to a nearby property, which it is believed was empty.

A PSNI helicopter was also involved in the operation.

Police later issued a statement saying that "during the course of the operation distraction devices were used" and that the Police Ombudsman has been informed.

"The search and arrests were in connection with an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)," a spokesman added.

Footage captured by onlookers and circulated on social media revealed that the initials CTSFO were emblazoned on the uniforms of some officers taking part in the operation.

This is believed to be a reference to 'Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officer'.

A spokesman for the PSNI last night said: "Officers from Headquarters Mobile Support Unit (HMSU), took part in the proactive policing operation on Tuesday evening, August 16th.

"HMSU is part of the (PSNIs) Crime Department and are trained and accredited to national UK Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officers (CTSFO) standards."

The CTSFO standard was created by the Met Police ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Asked if anyone has been taken into protective custody the PSNI spokesman added: "We do not comment on specific security matters, no inference should be drawn from this."


Northern Ireland news