20 Apr 2012

The PSNI could not tackle the dissident threat without MI5, Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said.

“To be frank, I need the expertise and analytical capability of the security services,” he said.

“MI5’s job here is simply to keep people safe – that’s what they do alongside the PSNI.

“We would not be having the success we’ve had if not for working closely with the security services as well as colleagues in An Garda Siochana.”

Mr Baggott said the St Andrew’s Agreement set out clearly that the police remain in operational control and see all intelligence.

“We have a very firm grip on what we need to do but the division between what is called national security, which still rests with the government in London, and local policing is set out very clearly in the St Andrews Agreement,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show.

“There is accountability in a different way through surveillance commissioners, other bodies and the ombudsman, and I think that this works.”