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Police issue apology after Facebook fiasco

The entrance to St Joseph's Primary School. US1421-547cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The entrance to St Joseph's Primary School. US1421-547cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The PSNI has issued an apology to the school authorities of St Joseph’s Primary School after police revealed they were investigating alleged historical crimes at the school via Facebook.

Last Tuesday, the PSNI posted a message on the social media website asking for those working at the primary between 1990 and 1996 to contact them.

It was later removed from the social networking site.

It is not known what the police are investigating, however, they have said that it is of a sexual nature and does not involve current staff or pupils.

Last week a senior officer visited the school to apologise for police actions.

Last week Public Protection Unit detectives made an appeal via the Lisburn PSNI Facebook page for staff and pupils at a Lisburn primary school during the 1990s.

“We would stress that this investigation does not relate to any offences of a sexual nature nor does it involve any current staff or pupils,” the statement read.

“The post has now been removed and PSNI accept that while some enquiries had been initiated with the school, upon reflection our intent to issue an appeal via Facebook should have been made clear to the school authorities prior to the post appearing and failure to do so was an oversight on our part for which we have now apologised to the school.

“We would once again emphasise the police investigation does not relate to any offences of a sexual nature and we extend our apologies to the school, it’s staff and pupils for any concern or confusion caused.

“We have advised the school of their right to contact the Office of the Police Ombudsman if they wish to do so and as such it would be inappropriate to comment any further on this ongoing enquiry at this time.”

One parent wrote to the Ulster Star criticising how the police handled the matter.

“I had children at the school and I don’t like how this has come out the way it did,” the letter stated.

“The school helped make my children the people they are now.

“Hopefully things will get back to normal for all concerned.”

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said, “I am glad that the police have clarified their position. Clearly this episode has caused a lot of concern among parents. I would ask that if anyone can help the police with their enquiries to do so and come forward.

“St Joseph’s is a exceptional school and I now believe that there is nothing that anyone should be unduly concerned about at this time.”

The school and the CCMS issued guidance and assurances to staff and parents.

 

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