Police chief says officers’ vigilance saved lives

T/Chief Inspector Derek McCamley. INNT24-128FP
T/Chief Inspector Derek McCamley. INNT24-128FP
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NEWTOWNABBEY’S Area Police Commander believes that the alertness of two of his officers during a bomb attack near Bawnmore last week undoubtedly saved their lives and those of two members of the public.

The two constables, one aged in his 20s and a more experienced officer in his 40s, were responding to an alarm call at the Toys R Us store on Mill Road at around 12.20am on Friday (September 16) following a report of a suspected burglary.

When the officers and two members of staff from the business approached the building, an explosive device was thrown at them.

“One of the constables was using his torch to have a look around the area. He heard something hissing and he looked up and saw something being thrown at him. He raised the alarm and everybody turned and ran. There was some form of an explosion behind him and the constable received a blunt trauma to the back of his head,” Chief Inspector Derek McCamley told the Times.

Both officers were taken to hospital for treatment. One suffered swelling and bruising to the back of his head while the other constable, who was blown off his feet by the explosion, suffered hearing loss in one ear and a groin injury as a result of the fall.

Neither of the civilians, both employees of Toys R Us, were injured in the blast, but both were left suffering from shock.

Chief Inspector McCamley said that all four were very lucky to have escaped without serious injury.

“It’s clearly obvious that if the constable had not seen the device being thrown and not raised the alarm and all of them run, I am convinced that we would definitely be dealing with a much more serious situation.

“This was a very cowardly and despicable attack perpetrated upon police officers who are out delivering a professional policing service to the public. They were answering a call for assistance from two members of the public, and this individual or these individuals had a callous disregard not only for the police officers, but also for the members of the public who were present.”

While not yet sure exactly what sort of device was used in the attack, the Chief Inspector believes that if it wasn’t for the vigilance of his officers, the explosion could have resulted in fatalities.

“I have no doubt that the officer who saw this device being thrown certainly prevented a much more serious incident from occurring on that night. Any sort of explosive device has the capability of maiming or killing an individual if it’s close enough to them,” he added.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...