Terror laws used twice as much in Strabane with less results

Fewer arrests were made in the Strabane district under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act than the entire ‘F’ policing district of Cookstown, Dungannon, Fermanagh and Omagh last summer despite Strabane alone having almost twice the number of people stopped and searched under the controversial act.

The figures which cover the period 1st July – 30th September 2009 show that whereas Omagh, Fermanagh, Cookstown and Dungannon combined had 717 cases of persons being stopped and searched by police under Section 44, there were 4 arrests, compared with only 3 arrests in the same period in Strabane despite 1,305 people being stopped and searched.

The figures released by the PSNI represent a dramatic escalation of the use of the terror legislation by police in a period which saw an upsurge in dissident republican activity.

A total of 13,833 people were stopped and searched across the province in the first two quarters of the 2009 financial year (1st April ’09 – 30th September ’09) compared with 9,548 for the whole of the previous year. With the North West of the being the most targeted.

Strabane ranked second highest out of the PSNI’s 29 policing districts for use of Section 44, only Foyle had more searches. Despite the high numbers only 3 men were arrested.

The figures appear to show little return for the PSNI’s regard for the North West as a dissident hotbed. In comparison, during the same period, only 178 searches were made under Section 44 terror laws in Craigavon District, containing Lurgan, which has been subject to widespread dissident republican activity. There were no arrests.

More to follow.

About AldousDuke
Mid Tyrone journalist, not so freelance any more.

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