Page last updated at 08:07 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 09:07 UK

Paisley defends lethal force call

PSNI firearms training - pic courtesy PSNI image library
Ian Paisley jnr said the community would support the use of lethal force

Police officers should be able to use lethal force when they are being attacked by people who are trying to kill them, Ian Paisley Jnr has said.

Mr Paisley made the comments in explanation to an earlier remark when he said police "should shoot dissident republicans on sight".

"Officers should have the opportunity to employ lethal force against those who would seek to kill them," he said.

He has been criticised by fellow Policing Board member, Dolores Kelly.

The SDLP representative said such actions would erode community support for the police and he should consider his position.

"It is difficult to think of anything which would serve the dissident cause better than a shoot-to-kill policy," she said.

"It is also disturbing that we have anyone involved in policing at any level who can't work that out for himself."

Mr Paisley Jnr made his original comments in the wake of a rocket attack on a PSNI foot patrol in County Fermanagh.

He said people would support the use of lethal force to wipe out the threat posed by groups such as the Real IRA.

Mr Paisley, a North Antrim assembly member, said that sooner or later a police officer would be murdered "unless the police are able to deploy ruthlessness in tracking down and wiping out these dissident members."

"I believe the community will accept such measures and if dissidents are shot on sight, the community will accept that it is a necessary use of lethal force to prevent dissident republicanism from growing," he said.

Mr Paisley said that the Stormont executive ought to ensure that a full discussion on the security situation must take place "with a view to ensuring every encouragement is given to the police and army in the eradication of dissident republicans".

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