Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Baggott tells press young people are being led “by the nose towards prison”

Mon 14 January 2013, 1:33pm

BBC report Matt Baggott words this morning…

Mr Baggott defended a police operation on Saturday when a “breakaway crowd” of loyalist protesters marched past a nationalist area in east Belfast.

“Residents should not have been put through that. I’m sorry they were put through that trauma,” he said. He warned those taking part in the riots “a knock on the door was coming”.

Mr Baggott said that police estimated more than 4,000 people took part in street protests on Friday across Northern Ireland. Some descended into rioting, with police attacked in Rathcoole in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus in County Antrim and in east Belfast.

Twenty-nine police officers were injured at the weekend in rioting at east Belfast’s Short Strand interface. One remains in hospital. It followed a loyalist protest over the decision to restrict the flying of the union flag at Belfast City Hall.

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Comments (43)

  1. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Mick

    The Irish Times has the PA report with some more interesting comments from Matt Baggott.

    The chief constable stopped short of saying that the PSNI would move flag protesters off the streets.

    Mr Baggott added: “I think there is a reality check about the role of policing in a democracy. Unless you are going to literally have tens of thousands of police officers, probably backed up by the military covering every street in Northern Ireland, you cannot deal with this simply by law enforcement approach.

    “Policing is all about the consent of the public and working with politics and at the moment that is the bit that needs to be reasserted. What I can do, in charge of this fantastic organisation, is to make sure that we give space for the politics to work.

    “Our approach to widespread protest will remain to be measured and responsible, making sure that passes peacefully as we have done for the vast majority of protests since this began.

    “Where we do get outbreaks of intense, out of control violence, we will bring it into control very quickly and constrain it in those geographic areas. I don’t think I can ask any more in terms of strategic approach. It is the right approach and I don’t think there is an alternative.”

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  2. GEF (profile) says:

    “The chief constable stopped short of saying that the PSNI would move flag protesters off the streets.”

    Oh yeah Mr Baggott, I will believe that when I see it. Quite frankly the Salvation Army would have done a better job then the PSNI did last Saturday.

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  3. DC (profile) says:

    £7+ million to police this whenever it cost nothing to fly the flag.

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  4. Barnshee (profile) says:

    The prods are doing what he micks did in the late 60`s –Bring out a crowd– confront the cops and hope that it spirals beyond cop control and involve the army. Hope then for for an “atrocity” by the cops/army to alienate all on “your side” from the AFM police /army as the mob mysteriously transmutes into innocent protesters on their way to/from a religious service..
    (Un?) Fortunately the cops are not biting

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  5. Ní Dhuibhir (profile) says:

    And we were so smug about London in the summer, with their inexperienced rioters and ineffectual police.

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  6. Mark (profile) says:

    So Barnshee , the preceding fifty years of Unionist misrule , gerrymandering and discrimination had nothing to do with the birth of the Civil Rights Movement ?? …

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  7. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Had a very good exchange of views with other posters on here yday re aspects of this dispute and wider conflict and whilst I still don’t agree with SF in many things I do feel Gerry Adams catchphrase re the flying of flags yday is appropriate-

    “Equality or neutrality”

    Time for some to choose

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  8. sherdy (profile) says:

    Baggott said today that when they blocked the Queen’s Bridge they did not anticipate the protesters (intending rioters) would move to the Albert Bridge! Is he serious? Is he stupid or does he think we are?
    They only had two alternatives and he could not reckon, with an either-or situation, that he should have been prepared for either route.
    Chief lunatic in charge of the policing asylum!
    God help us when it comes to policing the G8 summit later this year.

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  9. Paulk (profile) says:

    This is the very last time i’m going to reply to you on this DC(i promise myself), This is a crisis entirely of unionism’s own making, as has been pointed out many,many,many times Craigavon, Lisburn etc. all have a designated days flags policy in place.
    The DUP/UUP knew this was coming, they knew they couldn’t stop it plus they would have known Alliance’s own policies and that it was highly probable designated days was going to be the new policy in BCC.
    So they then decided they’d make a bit of political capital out of it by appealing to the knuckledraggers that their Britishness is being chipped away (though not so in Lisburn….?) they lap it up and all of a sudden we’ve got this situation….. it could’ve been played oh so differently in that SF and the SDLP have effectively agreed to fly the union flag etc…but then there was a westminister seat up for grabs in Belfast and the DUP thought this was the best way to win it back. As i’ve also said before £7m+ cost for upholding a democratic decision versus a victory for mob rule, violence, and intimidation – worth it every single time!

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  10. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Those that present balanced arguments tend to use the terms prod and taig…but the use of the term “mick” does sound very…mainlandish! Something I used to hear from heavily armed military attired english men walking backwards.

    I dont accept that the loyalists are aiming to provoke an armed response or an atrocity……even if your preculiar parellel is designed to merely provoke.

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  11. BarneyT (profile) says:

    parallel. typo!

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  12. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “So Barnshee , the preceding fifty years of Unionist misrule , gerrymandering and discrimination had nothing to do with the birth of the Civil Rights Movement ?? ”

    Was the ” fifty years of Unionist misrule” , accompanied / preceded by (take yer pick )t he 70, 100,200 ,400 years of catholic/republican murder gangs?

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  13. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Those that present balanced arguments tend to use the terms prod and taig…but the use of the term “mick” does sound very…mainlandish! Something I used to hear from heavily armed military attired english men walking backwards.”

    Close –Used to hear it ever week as London Irish (when it really was Irish) turned up –”here comes the micks”

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  14. im-power-shall (profile) says:

    @gef: really? How? Please share your vast knowledge and experience of public order situation. Considering, obviously, vastly reduced police numbers. Block ALL routes home? Just beat everyone with batons?

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  15. MALCOLMX (profile) says:

    So paisley and the dup as the grand old duke of York lead many loyalists to spending years in jail and now Robinson and the DUP is leading a new generation up that hill again and straight into jail while rabbo et al sit in their big houses. When will working class loyalist not learn that it is their own so called leaders who are more of a danger to them or their deluded interpretation of Britishness than any republican whom they seem to be fixated on at the minute as the bogeymen.

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  16. Mark (profile) says:

    Barnshee , it was you who made the comparison between what’s happening now and what happened late 60s / ear;y 70s . You’ll have to do better than that !.

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  17. Alias (profile) says:

    “…you cannot deal with this simply by law enforcement approach.”

    “Policing is all about the consent of the public and working with politics..”

    “..to make sure that we give space for the politics to work.”

    So that’s how political policing works.

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  18. im-power-shall (profile) says:

    @alias: painfully true if you’re frontline in Belfast, it’s the 21st century equivalent of ‘ok chaps, over the trench we go’

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  19. MrPMartin (profile) says:

    How will they be criminalised without being arrested and charged and tried? Baggot is one of those PSNI CCs who sees this as stepping stone to running the Met so he is hamstrung with political correctness

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  20. im-power-shall (profile) says:

    Most will be identified and charged. Fact is, modern policing relies on evidence gathering as opposed to snatch squads. Identify and arrest, not run in and drag away. Less press worthy, more effective. Hopefully it’ll change the way things were when I lived down the ‘Newt Nards Road’ when your parents were told that if the kids didn’t throw then the windees’d be put in.

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  21. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    I’m power shall-Fact is, modern policing relies on evidence gathering as opposed to snatch squads. Identify and arrest, not run in and drag away

    Unless of course they’re nationalist protestors blocking an orange parade………

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  22. im-power-shall (profile) says:

    You’re just being ridiculous now. Not to mention flashing your bigoted pants. Really folks, if any of you honestly believes that the most scrutinised police force in the world is biased one way or the other you need to move elsewhere.

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  23. im-power-shall (profile) says:

    Redstar – a LOT of arrests were made last marching season. Just didn’t make the headlines because they were a couple of months after the facts. And it’s actually the best way to stop future trouble. Revenge is a dish best served cold et al.

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  24. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Then why do they clear nationalists off the road instantly whilst they allow these thugs to block them

    You’re the one being ridiculous

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  25. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Last summer at Ardoyne

    Cleared off the road in minutes

    Now then are you telling me if such a protest happens again this year your Psni will just let them stay there like they do with these loyalist road blockers??

    Get real they will be forcibly removed again so that the oo can parade

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  26. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    And since when was policing Ben handed here???

    Are you only newly arrived here or what????

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  27. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Even handed- typo

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  28. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    They have held 16 parades past Short Strand in the past few weeks- none of them notified all illegal and no immediate action

    It sure is a different situation when it comes to the Psni tactics with Fenians blocking roads and their lodge brethren blocking roads

    Where in gods name you get the idea that this is an impartial police force is beyond me!!

    Ths is ostensively the same personnel as where in the Ruc

    The same people who helped murder- Finucane, the same people even Cameron admitted had supplied 90% of the Uda information

    A change of uniform and a performing poodle policing board doesn’t change their attitudes and has been amply been shown in their approach to loyalists blocking roads- doesn’t change their partisan way of dealing with those blocking roads

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  29. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    I know they certainly despise people in this community

    I had a relative murdered by the Uda- who enjoyed full information from these people.

    You admit that much when you acknowledge it’s business as usual with their information assistance to murder gangs.

    Some have this idea that all the Psni do is help old people cross the road- their SB and help to other agencies both legal and otherwise is as great and as perverse as ever

    Explain to me why I should support such people- ever?

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  30. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    You admitted yourself that the intelligence gathering/ info sharing SB hasn’t changed!!!!!

    Your blindness to what these agencies do highlights the reason for your bigotry

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  31. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    You seem to be all over the place and naive in the extreme if you think those agencies only deal with ” bad guys”

    Many believe those agencies and others are up to their necks pulling the strings even in the current unrest

    Of course in your rosé tinted world such things don’t happen- cops direct traffic, chase burglars and uphold the law impartially….

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  32. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Cameron must believe in a Tom Clancy agenda too when he apologised for your impartial police supplying 90% of the Udas info

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  33. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    The conversation here belies another very serious issue, which is that come the marching season in a few short months, young nationalists, angered by what they are witnessing at the moment, are likely to take it upon themselves to block the Clifton Street outside the Belfast Orange Hall on the 12th of July, and they’ll challenge the PSNI to be even handed and allow them to occupy the road for two hours without trying to remove them.

    I do not believe the PSNI are policing the situation any differently than they are Ardoyne on the 12th – they are dealing with multiple, highly organized attempts to stretch their resources – but the rise of the perception that there are double standards is extremely serious and it is not helped by the perception among many people – of any persuasion – that the PSNI are not doing enough to stop the trouble.

    Matt Baggott is storing up problems for the future.

    As for his press conference today, especially the part quoted by Pete above, he seems to be contradicting himself. He is saying he has all the resources he needs to police the situation. He is also saying that he does not have the manpower to remove the protests. If he can’t remove the protests, he should say so and send for reinforcements from across the UK. This problem can be stopped when special courts sit and a few hundred people get prosecuted for illegally blocking roads.

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  34. David Crookes (profile) says:

    “This problem can be stopped when special courts sit and a few hundred people get prosecuted for illegally blocking roads.”

    Thanks, Comrade Stalin. No hypocritical burbling about ‘very complex situation’ or ‘the people are angry’. Thanks. Let’s all be civilized first, and British or Irish or whatever second.

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  35. DC (profile) says:

    It’s funny peculiar the ones on this that are all liberal at taking the flag down are all right-wing on law and order…

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  36. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    “If he can’t remove the protests, he should say so and send for reinforcements from across the UK”

    Why? There are nearly 5,000 soldiers based here. All have recently served in public order situations abroad. I’m sure they’re perfectly able to do the same here at home. They did it for 30 years while the cops flicked through their Thompson holiday manuals to Orlando.

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  37. DC (profile) says:

    The only person who is doing the mistaking is you.

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  38. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    im-power-shall
    Nope.
    Squaddies don’t rake in millions in overtime to act as playground assistants.
    Not one PSNI Trevor or Niamh has been seriously injured in this teenage squabble.
    But they are looking forward to long summer nights in the Carribean, courtesy English taxpayers.
    The people who could actually deal with the rioters are not allowed to, even free of charge.
    But then since we’re not paying for it, what’s the problem?

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  39. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    BJ,

    We don’t need soldiers, we need police, and we need police to carry out the same public order policing that they did in London in August 2011 where teenagers were sentenced to two years in the clink for stealing a pair of trainers.

    im-power-shall,

    You are right you cannot bring the army in. This place will then become a massive party for the dissidents who will have hundreds of new targets to shoot at.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to go apeshit with plastic bullets. It can be done by flooding the trouble spots with cops and having them lift all around them. It can also be done, by the way, by holding Facebook’s feet to the fire and forcing them to track every single wanker who posts “let’s burn down the Short Strand” on Facebook. Which again is exactly what they did in London.

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  40. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Injured, Afghanistan style? Or Blackberry finger?

    There’s no need for the Army, even if they’re cheap and good at their job.
    The PSNI are civil servants, highly paid ones, but civil servants. And the rioters are children and a few religious balloons.
    It’s a game played every year.
    What island are your ‘injured’ policewomen holidaying in this summer? Presuming the hospital consultant thinks they’re capable of travelling? given their serious injuries.

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  41. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    CS
    So you don’t think the Special Reconnaissance Service, and similar units are serving here? Come the G8, Special forces will not be involved? Get real.
    I know we have to pretend otherwise, the Army Felix units having their vehicles painted white etc, but I agree with you about the facebook nonsense. And why are the Bryson type nuts not being charged for incitement?

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  42. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    BJ,

    I have no idea what you’re waffling about now.

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  43. BarneyT (profile) says:

    stronger implications last night from Baggot. Looks like the techniques used in London will be applied – film footage and retrospective charging. Mind you, many of the eejits in London were unmasked….not as slow now are the ulster mobs :-)

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