PSNI chief contacts politicians to discuss their personal security

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Chief Con Simon Byrne

Q Radio News/PA

Northern Ireland’s police chief has contacted elected representatives in the region to discuss their security following the killing of MP Sir David Amess, Stormont’s Justice Minister has said.

Naomi Long said PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne was engaging with MPs, MLAs and councillors after Friday’s fatal stabbing in Essex.

“I know the Chief Constable has made contact with MPs in the wake of what has happened in England to talk to them about their security and their personal safety and is also making contact I think with MLAs and also with councillors,” she added. 

“I think as elected representatives we want to be accessible, we want to be able to be approachable and it’s very difficult to balance that against trying to protect yourself, and indeed your staff and other people who are with you.

“So I think (it’s) just having that conversation initially about what can be done to try and ensure that people are safe but at the same time that they’re not locked away from the very people that they want to engage with.”

Stormont minister Nichola Mallon

Mrs Long’s comments came as fellow Stormont minister Nichola Mallon said she was reviewing security arrangements at her north Belfast office after an incident involving anti-vaccine activists.

The Justice Minister expressed solidarity with Ms Mallon after the Infrastructure Minister said a group of people visited the office to deliver a letter demanding that she remove Covid-19 restrictions and accusing her of harming children by endorsing the vaccine.

“It’s very upsetting, it’s a very frightening experience, particularly for my staff, It makes me anxious,” added Ms Mallon.

“We are now reviewing our security arrangements.”

DUP MP Gavin Robinson also declared support for the SDLP minister. He confirmed senior PSNI officers had contacted him and party colleagues following Sir David’s death.

“There is that incredible tension between needing to be accessible, maintaining that relationship with those who elect us, our constituents, being out in the public attending public events, and maintaining security,” he said. 

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