MANNIN: Bobbies on the beat? Or up the mountain!

What seemed like a fairly robust dismissal by the Isle of Man Chief Constable of concerns that his officers were involved in a politically motivated crack-down on Nationalist agitation has it seems an increasingly hollow ring with some members of the public.

As more information comes to light it is clear that the reaction to this outbreak of alleged nationalist graffiti has prompted a different reaction from Manx police than other examples of graffiti and criminal damage around the Island. The media may not have noticed this but some of those in the community have. Questions are being posed as to why numerous squads of officers are spending hours on surveillance in remote country areas of the Isle of Man whilst residential areas are virtually unpoliced.

Persons contacting the Celtic League is recent days (who have made it clear that they do not sympathise with those responsible for the recent daubing) have said that, in their view, police in the past have been either lukewarm or indifferent to random graffiti.

In another instance a person (who again stressed he did not support the daubing) was incensed by the Chief Constables assertion on Manx Radio that his force was dealing with the incidents in the same way they would deal with any criminal damage, pointing out that they had been less than robust in dealing with damage to a vehicle reported by his family.

It is clear that even amongst people who find the daubing activities repugnant there is also a considerable degree of unease over the proportionality of the police response.

One respondent cited vandalism to whole streets of cars in the past where the only police response was an appeal for information on Manx Radio. He asked why they don’t have groups of officers out “in residential areas rather than having them running around the hills looking for nationalists”

. He also qualified his remarks by saying that he did not condone the `nationalist daubing’ but the police had `lost the plot’.

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