THE Chief Constable has come out all guns blazing to refute Sinn Fein claims of a PSNI ‘dark side’ over the arrest of Gerry Adams.
Matt Baggott said detectives in the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit had every right to quiz the Sinn Fein president about the 1972 IRA murder of Jean McConville and were “only following the evidence”.
He hit back after Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness claimed last week he was told by senior PSNI officers of a “dark side” in the force, claiming there was still a “cabal” of old RUC officers stuck in the past.
Following his release from police custody on Sunday night, Gerry Adams has claimed his arrest was a “sham” and said it was politically motivated in the run up to the European elections.
However, the Louth TD said he still supported the PSNI despite his arrest.
In a statement issued this afternoon from PSNI headquarters, Mr Baggott said: “The arrest and questioning of Mr Adams was legitimate and lawful and an independent judge subsequently decided that there were grounds for further detention.
“Prosecutorial decisions will also be made independently by the PPS.
“Under the Patten architecture, to which all political parties have signed up, there are numerous ways in which policing concerns can be addressed, notably through the independent Police Ombudsman, Policing Board or Human Rights Commissioner.
“As such, questioning the motivation or impartiality of police officers tasked with investigating serious crime in this very public, generalised and vague manner, is both unfair and inappropriate.
He added: “In a democracy the police are tasked with following the evidence without fear or favour and in accordance with the law.
“The PSNI are committed to doing so regardless of any undue pressures. It would have been wrong to treat Mr Adams any differently to other citizens.”
A file on Mr Adams will now be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for consideration. Four other files on other arrested suspects are being considered.
Ivor Bell, 77, was last month charged with IRA membership and aiding and abetting in Jean McConville’s murder.