Flagging up another problem…

A SENIOR cop lays into a government department for refusing to help remove flags in Limavady. Once again, the Department of Regional Development takes the ‘play safe, do nothing’ approach that even a more pro-active PSNI seems to be slowly moving away from these days.

The Tele reported:

The DRD said that they had arranged a meeting with the Limavady police chief for next week.

A spokeswoman said: “Roads Service policy is where complaints are received and there is no danger to road users, to gauge community reaction to determine the likely success of any action that might be taken.

“This is generally done through consultation with local councillors, other public representatives and the PSNI.”

The PSNI Divisional Commander for Limavady pointed out a problem in the system that was brushed under the carpet a while ago, in the hope that no-one would notice – the police are powerless to use anti-terror legislation to remove non-paramilitary flags.

So much for a joined-up approach!

  • irishman

    In other words, the PSNI are telling loyalists to ensure they continue to bring crowds when erecting flags as it gives them cover under the ‘breach of peace’ clause to endorse the loyalist writ, no matter the religious composition of an area. Another incredible statement from the PSNI, revealing the inherent unionist bias running throughout the organisation.

    The facts on this one speak for themselves: Union jacks, ulster flags, loyalist flags and banners wil remain untouched- unless its the LVF, which the UVF have now given the PSNI permission to target.

    This is turning into quite an annus horribilius for the PSNI. (Doubting very much that was spelt correctly….)

  • brendan,belfast

    The place has gone nuts. When cops finally do their job as in the Antrim ice cream affair, the courts let the offendors off with suspended sentences. Meanwhile in Bolton Johnny Adair is refused bail – which courts have the right approach?

    I heard someone on GMU this morning saying that parents cant be responsible for their kids ’24/7′ why the hell not??

  • Bored

    Well said Irishman – another howler by the PSNI. As someone who supported the SDLP going onto the police boards I have to confess to now having serious misgivings about their providing a figleaf for these fuckers to act the bollocks with apparent impunity.

  • reality check

    I was interested to read that in limavady dup councillor leslie cubitt got threatened for reporting a uvf flag to the psni.Though i doubt it will be removed

  • Headmelter

    Brendan
    what was the Antrim ice cream affair?

  • yerman

    Reality Check,
    I thought that Leslie Cubitt had been threatened for actually removing the UVF flag as he had done with several other paramilitary flags.

    Headmelter,
    The ice cream affair was on the news this morning. Apparently if you want to sell ice cream on some housing estate in Carrick you have to register with the local hoods.

  • fair_deal

    Irishman

    “revealing the inherent unionist bias running throughout the organisation.”

    I am afraid it is not as simple as that. In the case of Limavady action has been taken against Loyalist paramilitary flags

    “”We have removed three paramilitary flags at Edenmore Road in the last week,” he said.” A local DUP councillor who supported this and said he was prepared to do so himself has also received threats.

    This week the PSNI sat in Landrovers and watched as nationalist youths smashed windows of the homes of four Protestant families in Glenbryn.

    The implementation Patten report has produced an incoherence in policing. The devolution of policing (which I realise has very good precedents in policing practice elsewhere) was more about accountability than about diversity in methods (In NY, each precinct commander was made responsible for his crime figures but COMPSTAT, improved training and extra resources led to a common approach on how criminal activity was targetted).

    On the Loyalist feud the East Belfast DCU sat back and did nothing in Garnerville while North Down and North Belfast DCU have been pro-active. The East Belfast DCU was equally inert in dealing with the trouble in Cluan place/Clandeboye Gardens on Saturday. Too often the PSNI thinks community policing means they do nothing when the situation calls for basic policing.

    When I used to help out in dealing with interface incidents I actually preferred the army turning up. They usually had a simple if brutal approach – clear both sides at the same time – and it tended to ensure there was little repetition (at least on that day or evening). With the PSNI it was a lottery on whether they would want to talk or which side they would attempt to clear.

  • Fanny

    I’m depressed to see Irishman and Bored use this story to attack the PSNI when the PSNI are the ones highlighting the problem in the first place – and trying to do something about it.

    When did Irishman or Bored last try to take down a paramilitary flag?

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Well said Fanny. The PSNI are complaining that they don’t have the power to take the flags down.

    Comments like those made above are the reason why people view policing reform with scepticism.It seems that some are more interested in attacking the police than actually changing them and making things better!

  • bertie

    I’ve never heard of him before but well done Leslie Cubitt! Keep it up!

  • Bored

    Fanny – last summer some untermensch scum came and adorned a number of lamp posts in my area of Belfast with Union Jacks. There had never been any such incidents of flag flying before in this neighbourhood (I’ve lived here for over ten years) and it was a clear attempt to introduce tension into a totally mixed and harmonious part of town. I phoned the Police and got the usual “community based solution/we’ve no power etc. etc.” waffle. Some friends and neighbours then decided that we would take the flags down ourselves. We phoned the Police and asked that they ‘keep an eye’ on us (for obvious reasons) while we removed the flags. They told us (and this is absolutely true) that if we attempted to remove the flags they would arrest US for disorderly behaviour/behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace! In the end we simply got up early one Monday morning (working on the logic that the filth that had erected these flags in the first place were unlikely to be up at that hour of the day – we were right) and removed the flags ourselves – it took us twenty minutes and the flags have never returned.

    Beano – if you’d actually READ my post you would have noted that I actually SUPPORTED the SDLP joining the policing boards. I’m not interested in just attacking the police for the sake of it.

  • reality check

    yerman

    I believe the uvf flag is still there.Also a couple of weeks ago gregory campbell requested a tricolour be removed in limavady and the psni did so.Why won’t the psni remove the uvf flag?

  • fair_deal

    Reality Check

    “We have removed three paramilitary flags at Edenmore Road in the last week,” Local PSNI commander

  • brendan,belfast

    The only online link to the Ice Cream story is from the Telegraph

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=658562

    depressing reading really.

  • reality check

    fair deal
    my regards for your clarification though i interpreted from the article i read that leslie cubitt was implying the psni weren’t going to do anything about the flag/flags

  • Fanny

    Bored, I apologise for criticising you in that case and I admire what you did. Your mistake was indeed calling the police – I have a friend who removed union jacks from his neighbourhood last year by simply getting a ladder out and going around under cover of darkness. They never re-appeared.
    However the pathetic police response you experienced is one forced on them by an official policy that senior police officers are now criticising – isn’t that progress?

  • El Matador

    Gerry Fitt has died. R.I.P.

  • bertie

    Oh no

    RIP Gerry

    I will miss you

  • pacart

    I have to say, I’m with the inspector on this one. If there is a machine which can remove flags safely and quickly ,”like a cherry-picker”, then get more of them and get harvesting! Remove all flags from lamp posts, they are intimidatory and a damn eyesore – get rid.

  • Gonzo

    bored

    The PSNI have given this reason before – that if you remove flags, you could be arrested for behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace. That is why in east Belfast a year or two ago, the police sealed off the Newtownards Road so that the UVF could put thier flags up uniterrupted (well done Henry Irvine).

    My suggestion – get arrested. There is NO WAY the police will prosecute, and it might actually humiliate them into doing something in areas where they aren’t wquite so ‘pro-active’.

  • Fanny

    That’s true Gonzo – but if the police decide to make a public issue out of you taking flags down, then the police will be the least of your worries.

  • DCB

    That’s really sad about Gerry Fit – he deserves so much press coverage for his life’s work, which I hope he gets.

    If only the SDLP had men of his calibre

  • Bored

    Gonzo – you’re right – but I could guarantee that within ten minutes of my being arrested, my windows would be smashed, car torched etc. etc. etc.

  • beano

    Sorry bored I was referring more to Irishman’s comments and I sympathise with you re: the police response – I’d heard a similar story to that before and was more than a little perplexed.

  • bertie

    I have just noticed that this thread is categorised as “culture” that is surely euphemistic

  • aquifer

    A country that can help hammer another with ‘Shock and Awe’ round the clock bombing cannot arrange a cherrypicker early one morning.

    Take the flags down under planning legislation.

    Hoods do not have permission for an open air asylum.

  • Borgon

    Why would the PSNI have any interest in taking down Unionist paramilitary flags? They are too busy sipping cups of tea in the police station and racking up overtime wandering round shopping centres thinking about what top of the range SUV they will buy wifie.

  • barnshee

    “Why would the PSNI have any interest in taking down Unionist paramilitary flags? They are too busy sipping cups of tea in the police station and racking up overtime wandering round shopping centres thinking about what top of the range SUV they will buy wifie”

    And quite right too! with salary +OT they are now are least comfortable in ther DET 4BD CH 2car gar. Go out there with BOTH sides now throwing at them, share a car/patrol without someone from the “otherside” that they do not trust. You must be joking- get hurt by scumbags – it would put the next holiday at risk.