Justice ministers discuss cross-border policing via teleconference

Justice ministers discuss cross-border policing via teleconference

Justice ministers north and south of the border have spoken via teleconference to discuss the close co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI during the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Justice Minister Naomi Long took part in the call yesterday evening ahead of “extensive operations” south of the border over the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Flanagan said: “Minister Long and I had a valuable exchange of views on the support our respective police forces are providing to the public health authorities as we try to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

“We noted the high levels of public compliance with the health restrictions in place and the importance of reinforcing the rationale for the measures as we enter a bank holiday weekend on this side of the border.

“Commissioner Drew Harris briefed me today on the plans for the extensive operations that will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend. He is also in regular contact with the Chief Constable of the PSNI, Simon Byrne.”

Ms Long added: “This is an unprecedented health crisis and we all must play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 from person to person, from household to household and from place to place

“We are still very much in the midst of the pandemic and we simply cannot afford to allow complacency to creep in. While formal enforcement powers of the health protection measures have been made available to policing, the vast majority of people are doing the right thing and I have been impressed by how the PSNI and AGS have worked closely together to keep people safe.

“The ‘stay at home’ message is just as crucial now as it was on day one of this crisis. If you are getting into your car, ask yourself if your reason for doing so is both essential and reasonable.

“None of this is easy but it is so important if we are to continue to flatten the curve and save lives.”

The ministers also discussed the work underway to tackle domestic violence on both sides of the border. A “See the Signs” campaign is underway in Northern Ireland while a “Still Here” campaign reaching out to victims is underway south of the border.

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