Dissident republicans who tried to blow up the headquarters of the police’s oversight body in the North are likely to target the building again, a senior officer warned today.
Intelligence suggests that another attack on the NI Policing Board HQ in Belfast is a “strong possibility”, Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Drew Harris revealed.
While the main threat is to the building, Mr Harris told members and staff of the independent body that they were at “moderate” risk.
Last month terrorists drove a car carrying 200kg (440lb) of home-made explosive through an entry barrier and abandoned it outside the tower block in the Clarendon dock area. However, the device failed to detonate and no one was injured.
Security was tight at the building today as senior officers briefed members at the first meeting since the bomb plot.
As guards manned newly-erected steel barriers outside, Mr Harris indicated that the terrorists would try to strike again.
“Obviously following the events of Saturday evening 21st of November when a vehicle borne improvised explosive device was left at this building – it was a device consisting of 200kg of home made explosives that failed to fully detonate,” he said.
“Subsequent to that, staff or members of the Policing Board are assessed to be at moderate threat but this building itself is defined as being at substantial threat, which is an attack is a strong possibility.
“That’s the current situation at this time.”
The Policing Board was set up as part of peace process reforms designed to make the police more accountable.
The failed attack at its HQ was blamed on republican extremists who continue to target the agencies of law and order in a bid to destabilise the political process.