Last month, an article appeared on various media outlets where a PSNI spokesperson for the disgraced Paramilitary Crime Taskforce (PCTF) stated that they had siezed a stun gun and made the arrest of a man in his 30s in connection with the INLA.
The news was blindly welcomed by elected representatives, with Arlene Foster herself commenting that it was a blow to so called Republican paramilitaries.
Like most of these PCTF stories, it faded away within a day and as per usual nothing else was said, heard or released.
Last week, the IRSP were contacted by a young man in some distress who wanted to talk to our activists. It turns out this man, who has or had absolutely no connection with the Irish Republican Socialist Movement was the young man who was arrested for the stun gun and alleged INLA activity.
He explained that weeks before his arrest, he bought the stun gun on a website called Wish.com. He bought it with the intention of “having a bit of a laugh”.
He attempted to cancel the order when he discovered that buying such an item was illegal, he rang up the company he bought it off who already said that it had been shipped.
A few days later, dozens of heavily armed PSNI members under the guise of the so called Paramilitary Crime Taskforce raided his West Belfast home and arrested him for firearms offences.
Before any charges were put to him or questioning began, the media were already headlining that the PSNI had raided a property seizing a stungun in the process and arrested someone for INLA activity.
Unknowing to the man, the stun gun had been intercepted at a mail handling facility and produced to him while being questioned. They subsequently charged him with possession of an illegal item without him ever even receiving the item.
Throughout questioning, the INLA were not mentioned, he only found out about this when he got home and read the news.
This incident is just the latest of a whole series of similar incidents where the so called Paramilitary Crime Taskforce who recieve millions of pounds in tax payers money appear to falsify charges against people to tick the funding boxes or yearly quota of arrests and seizures.
Innocent people are now falling victim to this scam. This young man’s life has been turned upside down; being connected to an organisation he has nothing to do with has cost him his job and also his personal safety. An admittedly stupid mistake that has him in the crosshairs of an immoral funding opportunity for the PSNI.
The media and our communities need to be aware of these incidents, the PSNI have a history of lying, their statements cannot be taken at face value or as fact. They have a political & financial agenda that needs exposed and challenged.
Elected political representatives who claim to hold these people to account also need to take responsibility. Who is letting the PSNI get away with this and why?
We commend this man for coming forward to us to tell his story and we urge everyone to be vigilant against these fraudsters.