Northern Ireland

Dissidents 'apologise' for false PSNI membership claim

The poster erected in Dungiven's Chapel Road area last Thursday.
The poster erected in Dungiven's Chapel Road area last Thursday. The poster erected in Dungiven's Chapel Road area last Thursday.

A Sinn Fein councillor has said dissident republicans have "apologised" after wrongly naming a woman as a police officer.

The woman's name and address were included in a poster hung from a fence near a bus stop in the Chapel Road area of Dungiven last week.

The poster featured the names of two women and one man, along with addresses.

It also referred to the unnamed "partner" of one of the two women.

It later emerged that one of the women named had resigned from the PSNI six months ago, while the other woman was never employed by the force "in any capacity".

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Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said the bus shelter poster was a "clear attempt to intimidate police officers, staff and their families".

SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan said: “Anyone using information about police officers in this way must be dealt with in the strongest possible terms and I’d urge those with information to come forward to police.”

The poster appeared weeks after a major data breach that saw the names of almost 10,000 PSNI officers and civilian staff published online in a blunder made following a Freedom of Information request.

 

The woman who was wrongly identified said: "It was very scary and I am not going to say my mind is totally at rest.  I'm glad they acknowledged it was not me."

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said those responsible "acknowledged they were wrong".

"They got it wrong and apologised through myself," he said.

"This is the only way forward, we have to engage with these people, it's the only way to resolve the policing issue."

The woman's solicitor, Michael Madden, of Madden and Finucane, said a complaint will be made to the Police Ombudsman and other legal options are being considered.

A Westminster committee yesterday heard that the PSNI data breach could cost £240 million in security and legal costs.

Meanwhile, the head of the organisation representing Catholic PSNI officers says he has advised some of them to bring personal protection weapons to Mass in the aftermath of the data breach.

Superintendent Gerry Murray, chairperson of the Catholic Police Guild of Northern Ireland, said: "Our members are frightened, scared, have no idea what tomorrow will bring for them.

“And I have incidents where young Catholic officers are asking me: do they carry their personal protection weapon when they go to Mass?”

He added: “That has happened, and the advice I’ve given: yes, you do."