The new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) District Commander for Fermanagh and Omagh says he is “exploring” how a video recorded from inside a police vehicle of an incident in Enniskillen last week emerged in the public domain.

The video, which shows a police vehicle being repeatedly rammed by a black car, was shared by members of the public not long after the incident occurred.


The Impartial Reporter asked Superintendent Alywin Barton how the video got into the public domain.

Superintendent Barton commented: “That is a matter that I am exploring at the moment.”

It was later revealed that this incident was related to another incident which resulted in a man being apprehended by a number of PSNI officers in Enniskillen town centre last Wednesday (September 30).

The District Commander stated: “We received a report on a variety of issues and it culminated in the suspect being identified in the town centre. He was approached and challenged by police officers and that individual became exceptionally violent,” said Superintendent Barton.

Stating that this is currently a live investigation and he could not go into much detail, the District Commander added: “The approach employed by the officers has been reviewed and I’m certainly satisfied with the efforts to restrain the individual were as proportional as could be maintained in the face of the violence that was evident.”

This week Superintendent Barton took up his new role as District Commander for Fermanagh and Omagh, returning to work in the counties where he spent the first 31 years of his policing career. He said: “I moved back to my roots with a hope that I can work with my colleagues in the district and the local communities to build on the community-policing foundation already in place.”

“It is my hope that, during my tenure as Commander in Fermanagh and Omagh, the extent to which I care for the communities will be evidenced through my willingness to listen to what they want from their police service, and to act in partnership to build a safe place to live, work and socialise,” he added.

Historical sex abuse

When asked by this newspaper how in his new role he plans to push forward with the investigation into claims of historical child sex abuse in Fermanagh, Superintendent Barton commented: “Because it is a live investigation I can’t get drawn into a conversation about it at the moment although I want to reassure that there is a very senior officer in charge of the investigation and I will seek to have a discussion with them at an early stage.”

Prior to taking up his new position, Superintendent Barton spent the past 12 months leading the Chief Constable’s Neighbourhood Policing Delivery programme, and also working in an operational planning role for the PSNI’s Covid-19 response.

The Impartial Reporter asked Superintendent Barton if he is concerned that there’s an air of complacency around current Covid-19 regulations in the Fermanagh area.


He responded: “I don’t think I would go as far to describe it as an air of complacency but it frustrates me slightly that people who should know better, people who are quite clearly hearing the messaging are choosing not to abide by the guidance.”

“The fact that we have numerous individuals from different households gathering in a private premises and the police have to be called to that house and have to actually enforce the guidance in respect of those individuals, that is not a thing that I or the officers that work in this area take any element of satisfaction in at all,” said the District Commander, commenting that it’s “very frustrating” having to tell individuals that this is for their own safety and protection.

It was reported by the PSNI this week that one bar in the district was issued with a prohibition notice to stop trading immediately due to a breach in Covid-19 regulations.

When asked about the duration of this prohibition notice, Superintendent Barton said: “The nature of the prohibition notice is they are closed until we are satisfied that the arrangements within the premises are sufficiently safe for the premises to reopen. Mitigation measures have been set in place to enable the premises to reopen and then we work with the premises in respect of the suitability for them to reopen. This is the action that we are taking in this case.

“We are taking seriously our responsibility in respect of trying to ensure the safety of the community right across Fermanagh and Omagh but once again this is an example of where we can’t operate in isolation, we need to work with our partners, we need to work with the communities and the secret of tackling Covid is personal responsibility of the individual by ensuring that they undertake and commit to the advice and guidance given out,” Superintendent Barton said.