A UPRG-linked member of the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership has sought to gain detailed knowledge of police firearms capability through written questions to the PSNI.
In a series of questions obtained by the North Belfast News, Gerald Solinas, who sits as an independent member of the PCSP, but has previously been associated with the UDA-linked UPRG, asks about the PSNI’s Heckler and Koch G36 and its capability.
“Are the current G36 weapons suitable for night use?” he asks. “What is the percentage of officers trained in the G36? Furthermore, are the G36 weapons zeroed to individual officers? Are there zeroing readers available to officers?”
The questions are in the context of the attack on the PSNI in January where an officer was shot by the New IRA on the Crumlin Road.
In response, the PSNI shy away from giving details but state the weapons are maintained and used within guidelines.
“All policy relating to this area of business is contained in the PSNI Manual of Policy, Procedure and Guidance relating to Conflict Management. We comply with the requirements of this document however we do not discuss matters relating to ongoing operational activity.”
The questions go onto ask how many probationary constables are working in North Belfast (24 per cent), about vehicles and how officers are being treated for mental health issues.
Bizarrely, he also seeks information about lunch boxes.
“How much does it cost for the lunch boxes given to officers during big events, parades, what is provided and who provides them?” No details are given in the response as the information is deemed “commercially sensitive” by the PSNI.
The PCSPs are made up of elected councillors and independent members. They were formed to allow members of the community to speak to senior officers about ongoing issues in local areas.