PSNI: Device found at Londonderry hotel was a ‘viable device’

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton pictured at PSNI Headquarters Knock in Belfast with advertising posters for the police's new recruitment drive.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton pictured at PSNI Headquarters Knock in Belfast with advertising posters for the police's new recruitment drive.

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A device initially described as an “elaborate hoax” by the PSNI in Londonderry has now been declared as as “viable Improvised Explosive Device”.

The device was recovered within the grounds of the Waterfoot Hotel during a security alert yesterday morning-Friday, October 9.

The Waterfoot Hotel in Derry was due to be a venue for the PSNI recruitment drive. The event had already been cancelled to facilitate a wedding before the bomb alert took place.

The Waterfoot Hotel in Derry was due to be a venue for the PSNI recruitment drive. The event had already been cancelled to facilitate a wedding before the bomb alert took place.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “A controlled explosion was carried out on the device and initial checks by ATO suggested that it was an elaborate hoax. However, following further examination the object has now been declared a viable Improvised Explosive Device.

“This device had the potential to harm anyone in the area and those involved have shown total disregard for human life. We are obviously very thankful that this attack was thwarted and that no one was killed or seriously injured.”

“Similar alerts at the Millfield Campus of Belfast Metropolitan College and Strule Arts Centre in Omagh which also began yesterday, have now ended and nothing untoward was found.

“ACC Hamilton added: “Clearly there are people out there in today’s society who are still intent on targeting our police service and causing harm to our communities. We know, however, that the actions of these few misguided individuals will not stop people pursuing a career in policing. In fact we’ve already had approximately 2,400 applications in this current recruitment process.

“I am aware of the disruption that has been caused by these security operations and I would like to thank everyone who has co-operated and worked with our officers throughout.

“I would continue to strongly encourage those interested in joining the PSNI and who want to make a positive contribution to Northern Ireland to come along to one of the familiarisation events taking place today and find out more about the opportunities that exist within the Police Service.”

The Republican Network for Unity had announced their intention to protest outside the Derry event on Thursday. In response Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “A large wedding reception will be taking place at the venue on the same date, and as many people will be aware, a protest against our event has been planned. Those who would seek to disrupt the day have shown no thought for others.

“Out of consideration for the bride and groom, and to ensure they can fully enjoy their special day without the possibility of any disruption, we have arranged to reschedule the event.”

The Foyle Bridge in the city was closed for a considerable period of time yesterday afternoon following a security alert at the venue where the PSNI recruitment was due to be held. It eventually re-opened again around 6pm. Police say the Derry recruitment event has been rescheduled for the same venue next Saturday, Oct 17.