Police in the North have today apologised after raiding the home of a Sinn Féin Lord Mayor as part of a probe into republican activity.
Kevin Campbell’s Derry address was targeted last month by officers investigating a splinter faction of the IRA known as Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD). A laptop, camera and mobile phones were taken during the search.
Vigilante group RAAD has been blamed for intimidating a series of people from their homes in the north west of the North and carrying out gun attacks against those it claimed were drug dealers.
Mr Campbell leads Derry City Council. Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones and district commander, chief superintendent Stephen Martin, confirmed it was a mistake to search the mayor’s home – which was wrongly identified during the police operation.
Assistant Chief Constable Jones said: “We made a mistake and we are deeply sorry for the distress caused to Cllr Campbell and his family which we recognise was personally traumatic and also embarrassing in his role as First Citizen.
“We fully accept the mayor was not involved in the matters we were investigating that evening. On behalf of the chief constable (Matt Baggott), I unequivocally apologise for what took place at the mayor’s home on July 12.
“We are grateful for the grace and dignity with which the Mayor and his wife received our apology.”
He also apologised for the length of time it has taken the PSNI to issue today's statement.
Mr Campbell lives in the nationalist Creggan estate in Derry and was elected Mayor in June. He said at the time of the July 12 raid he would be filing a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.
“This decision by the PSNI to issue an unreserved and unconditional apology to myself and my wife and family for the indignity and trauma inflicted on us by this unwarranted raid on our home vindicates what I said at the time – the PSNI got it wrong and should publicly admit their mistake,” he said.
“I believe that this outcome was imperative if we are to rebuild public confidence and continue to develop accountable and transparent policing in our community.”
Andrew Allen was the first person killed by RAAD when he was shot in Buncrana, Co Donegal, on 9 February this year.
On July 26 this year RAAD announced that it was merging with another dissident group. The Real IRA, and other republicans, into a new organisation simply called the IRA.