Postcard: Belfast


SAFE APPROACH: On the beat in North Belfast, Constable Simpson stops to chat with neighborhood boys

It would be nice, the police superintendent says, to take down the high, barbed-wire-topped walls that ring Antrim Road police station. Plenty else has changed already. The petrol bombs and bullets the walls used to hold back have stopped flying. Guards at the gate no longer keep their guns conspicuously unholstered. In fact, so much has changed in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that when a young Catholic like Rory Fitzpatrick — who just 15 years ago could have viewed the force as his natural enemy — explains why he joined in 2004, his answers are unremarkable: good prospects,...

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