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Fresh Start Panel Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP 3:00 pm, 15th November 2016

I will go to constituencies and meet organisations. When I met that organisation, a conversation took place about supporting the PSNI and upholding the rule of law, and those who responded were categorical in saying that it is for the PSNI to deal effectively with issues of law and order.

The recommendations in the report state that we need to support communities that are moving into a transitional process. I can speak only about those in my constituency, but there are those who have pasts and prison records, and I recognise the work that they have been doing to move the community forward. I am prepared to work with those individuals on the basis that they support only the PSNI. That is certainly the case with the individuals whom I have been working with and will continue to work with. It is, of course, important that organisations are always looked at in terms of those protocols.

When it comes to being the judge on all those things, given the Member's legal expertise, he will know that, if individuals are breaking the law, it is for the PSNI to arrest and charge them.

What I have heard from a number of Members is that they have been acting as judge and jury over a number of these individuals as opposed to allowing the forces of law and order to deal effectively with them. It is for them to make those judgements and to prosecute people where they break the law.