“You cannot have policing with no teeth.”

The next PSNI Chief Constable is expected to be named later today – and Liam Clarke points out that whoever it is “will have to face a uniquely divided society with expectations of the police that are often unrealistic.” Meanwhile, apparently the Police Ombudsman is to investigate some “community” policing in Larne on 27th July – you can watch the raw CCTV footage here. The BBC report links what is described as a “loyalist protest” to an assault, by “loyalist paramilitaries”, on 10th July and the News Letter quotes local MP, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, as saying “I think the police basically got it right as A, they were not caught unawares, B, they did not collude with the protestors and C, no one was injured or any property damaged.” But, from the same report, former Metropolitan Police Commander, John O’Connor, makes an important point

[John O’Connor] said: “These men were testing the police to see what they could get away with. How can you have a peaceful protest at midnight? This was riotous assembly, even if there was no violence, the men were testing the water. And the police failed the test.”

Continued

[John O’Connor] “In a case like this, where was the contingency plan? It is critical to have a contingency plan.

“They must be able to anticipate what is likely to happen and they need to be able to straddle both communities.

“The problem is that to the Catholic community the police appear biased and this is a dangerous game to play. They needed to be able to call in the back-up.

“You cannot have policing with no teeth.

“You either have policing or you end up with the public going to vigilante groups to get them to do policing for them.”

, , , , , ,

  • ken

    wonder if Sammys abode got a visit at midnight from 50 catholics is he would take such a relaxed view of things, history would lead us to believe otherwise one thinks

  • cynic

    The problem is that polibing here ahd progressively had its teth pulled as part of ‘The Process’ TM and at the behest of political leaders.

  • blinding

    That John O’Connor is a sensible fellow.

  • Sean

    Ken

    Of course sammy wouldn’t mind its not the catholics doing the mob violence is it?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I watched the video, was 3 minutes from the crowd came round the corner till they disappeared, the police seemed to try to control things, maybe they could have stopped it completely, but i doubt it it, they cant be there 24hrs a day the crowd would probably have taken it as a challenge and escalated things.
    Lets say the police formed a line and tried to stop the group, but literally are over-streched, “protestors” break through, scuffles ensue, police and others get injured, a few make it past and attack the house as there is no-one there to restrain them and they have got worked with the scuffle, the family comes out of the house and who knows what happens..
    On the other hand maybe the police stopped the group and told them they were part of a illegal parade, they then dispurse and go home.
    Which was the more likely option?
    Maybe there is more I dont know but the police managed it as well as they could in the situation, but the leaders should be at least cautioned and certainlt if they tried to repeat it then a stronger approach would be right.

    [edited moderator]

  • The Raven

    “the crowd would probably have taken it as a challenge”

    Unbelievable that this statement is written without some form of incredulity that underlines how far law and order has fallen in this region.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Raven it would be the same in London, Glasgow, Dublin or Cork, vigilante crowds get worked up easily, its not right I agree and needs to be dealt with, just LArne the other night was probably not the right tiem and place to take the crowd on.

  • 6countyprod

    Former Metropolitan Police Commander, John O’Connor appears to be making a career out of providing regular criticisms of the policies and procedures of the Met and other police forces, and so I reckon his comments need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • Big Maggie

    Pete,

    Thanks for posting the link to the video. I tried to find it last week when the Fat Boy was milking the incident for all it was worth.

    I’ll have a look at the vid and see if I agree with others here.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I tried to raise the same point 6county, but it was edited out, maybe I did it in a clumsy way that could have been mis-understood, I did a search too and came up with an equally long but different list of things he has commented on, just wondered how he got invovlved in this particualr case.

  • Big Maggie

    OK, I’ve watched it.

    It begins with a police LandRover preceding a group of marchers by a second or two. According to the PSNI the officers didn’t know where the marching Unionists were destined. Yet strangely enough the driver knew which turn to take. Hmmm.

    Yes, it does look as though the cops were doing little more than escorting those thugs to somebody’s home at midnight. Did they surprise the mob en route? According to members of the mob it was a “spontaneous” protest. If I accept that, may I ask why the PSNI could not block the street?

    A bad show. Larne is a bigoted hole and this is yet another indication of how partial the police there are. Shameful.

    Mind you, not as bad as the bad old days of the RUC, so I suppose some sort of progress has been made.

  • Pete Baker

    6pc and DR

    Guys, you’re just playing the man.

    Maggie

    That perception is exactly what John O’Connor warns about.

    But, IMO, what the video shows is the police taking the path of least resistance.

    That’s still the wrong decision. But, according to the News Letter report, that decision came from headquarters.

  • Sean

    Pete

    Since when is it the job of the police to take the path of least resistance?

    You must pay your police for a different purpose than we do

  • Pete Baker

    Sean

    It’s not.

    Wasn’t it clear that I was criticising them for that decision?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Pete if someone completely unconnected with an incident makes a strong public statement on it and you in turn use it as a substancial part of your posting then, i think it is fair comment to question what motivated him to comment on the PSNI in this instance.
    And maggie is it not possible that the police heard rumours of a vigilante group assembling, knew there were possibly 3 or 4 possible targets say and only when they headed down that street they knew where they were going and managed to keep in front to protect the house.

  • Pete Baker

    DR

    Mind-reading and playing the man?

    He’s an experienced former Metropolitan Police officer who led the CID aspect of public order.

    That doesn’t make him automatically right, but neither does his previous statements entitle you to dismiss what he’s had to say about this – that would be playing the man.

    If you think he’s wrong, tell us why.

  • Pete, why are you churning out this nonsense from John O’Connor when you know that policing and justice here are politically managed by London and Dublin? Perhaps John’s namesake Danny could provide some enlightenment. Let’s hope the new Chief Constable isn’t as ill-informed as the Met plod.

  • Peter Brown

    On what grounds could the police have stopped this “protest”? What offence was committed which would have allowed them to arrest anyone taking part or even to break up the crowd (as opposed to having a false arrest claim brought against them)?

    I oppose the use of the tactic in the way it was here but support the legislation which guarantees a right to peaceful protest – it cannot distinguish between legitimate peaceful prtest and this sort of event (unless public meetings have opening hours)

  • Comrade Stalin

    A bad show. Larne is a bigoted hole and this is yet another indication of how partial the police there are. Shameful.

    I think the police were showing the same partiality that they showed when they failed to take any serious kind of action over the years when dealing with riotous behaviour, thuggery and property damage in the Holylands. So I don’t think they can be accused of old-style RUC sectarianism.

    I agree with the comments that, rather than being malicious, the police are taking the path of least resistance. Rather than looking at whether or not it is right to allow a group of people to intimidate someone by gathering outside their house, they’re looking at the quickest and easiest way to fix the thing in the short term while minimizing damage to property and life (particularly their own). This is what they do in other public order situations, whether the paramilitaries are there or not. If it were me, people who gather to intimidate a person in this way would be ordered to disperse, and failing that, would all be arrested en masse or baton charged off the road. Unfortunately the political consensus for any kind of action like this does not exist.

    Which leads me to John O’Connor’s comments. They might apply accurately if we were dealing with the police having to make a stand against an organization that the community were united against. Unfortunately, significant numbers of people in this country support paramilitary organizations in one sense or another. It’s not the job of the police to provide leadership here – it’s the job of the politicians. This is where the devolution of policing and justice powers come in, because they will lead to the opportunity to create the kind of cross-party consensus that the police need to back them up whenever they have to crack a few skulls.

  • “devolution of policing and justice powers come in, .. they have to crack a few skulls.”

    I can’t imagine an Alliance Party justice supremo directing any skull-cracking operation 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    Peter Brown, Nevin,

    Loyalist paramilitaries engage in a clearly orchestrated attempt to intimidate someone, and you don’t think that anything happened which was wrong – of course, how dare John O’Connor question why loyalists are allowed to do this.

    Why am I not shocked ?

  • “What offence was committed”

    Peter, if no offence was committed then there’s a serious gap in our justice system.

  • “Why am I not shocked ?”

    Perhaps you’re as underinformed as O’Connor when it comes to the political control of policing and justice, CS.

    Have you not researched such control post-1985? Did you not know that police officers could observe paramilitary wrong-doing but could not ruffle paramilitary feathers without political clearance? Why do you imagine President McAleese has been ‘hobnobbing’ with loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers?

  • Big Maggie

    Nevin,

    “Peter, if no offence was committed then there’s a serious gap in our justice system.”

    Amen to that. Can it be that here in NI we’ve become so inured to outrage that we accept that a mob of Unionist vigilantes marching at midnight is normal?

    Certain people need to look carefully at their comments and consider them against the backdrop of civilized societies.

  • It’s a natural outworking of the peace process, Big Maggie. Just look at President McAleese’s ‘endorsement’ of the Finaghy Crossroads Group. Need I say more? Bad Boys Rule KO.

  • aquifer

    Do the PSNI still have dog handlers? I remember dogs being used to herd some Paisleyites up at Stormont. Very successful.

  • cynic

    Had the Parades Commision given approval for the Parade?

  • Big Maggie

    cynic,

    You really are a cynic :^)

  • Craigy Hill

    I see some posters are drawing conclusions which fit their own prejudices- partial policing in ‘loyalist’ Larne, bigots etc, etc… Big Maggie says “A bad show. Larne is a bigoted hole and this is yet another indication of how partial the police there are. Shameful”

    That will be news to the Catholic who organized the policing operation.

    A few facts and some background:

    There has been a spate of creeper burglaries in Larne recently.
    It is alleged that the same 6/8 names keep cropping up in relation to who has been responsible.
    It is believed that this burglar gang has been ‘connected’ to one paramilitary group or another. It is also alleged that these groups were taking a cut, even that a well known paramilitary had sold decommissioned weapons to members of the gang!

    Then a few months ago, relatives of paramilitary members had their houses burgled and there was a fight in a local bar. Suddenly the local paramilitaries decided they had to protect their ‘community’ from the criminals in their midst.
    Hence at the 11th night a mob comprised by both UDA and UVF including some bussed in from other parts attacked property allegedly connected to the burglar gang. In that a brother of a suspect was viciously beaten, and has only just be released from hospital.

    In relation to the later demo and the police response which has been all over the Nolan Show.
    Police had intelligence that day (26th July) that there was going to be silent non violent protest at selected addresses in the town. When the crowd assembled they were given warnings that they would be monitored and any breech of the peace would not be tolerated. It was uneventful except there was a verbal altercation at the door of the last property. They had decided to get in front of the mob because at previous locations part of the group had knocked doors, which was a potential confrontation situation. When there were verbals at the last house the officer in charge told the crowd to disperse, which they did. If they had not, a contingency play was in place and would have been initiated. The family in that House who have gone to the media and a Sinn Fein Councillor from 25 miles away refused to speak to the police in the aftermath. A file has gone to the PPS and prosecutions are likely.

    The police have not been able to get into the detail of this in public but the truth will out.

  • Big Maggie

    Craigy Hill,

    “It is alleged that” you’re the bookie’s son. Any truth in that?

    Larne is certainly a bigoted hole. Don’t deny it but try instead to change it.

  • Craigy Hill

    The use of the phrase ‘it is alleged’ is a fairly standard protection from slander. See ‘Have I got News For You’

    How exactly is Larne a bigoted hole?
    What do you base that statement on?
    Whay does the policing of this incident prove your assertion?
    What nirvana do you call home?

    Do tell

  • Craigy Hill

    There is clearly a problem in Larne like practically everywhere in NI and that is the continuing existence of paramilitary crime gangs. Because of the local demographics they would be described as ‘loyalist’.

    If you were familiar with the area you would be aware that the local paramilitaries are actually equal opportunities employers. IE they are criminal gangs with members from all religious traditions, united by their love of illicitly gained money.

    But I would say that there is comparatively less of a paramilitary problem in Larne that most other places.

    I would definitely say that there is far less of a sectarian problem in Larne that in most other places.

    There is practically no segregated housing, no peace walls, people work and socialize together to a very large degree. Increasingly people are educated together, and levels of mixed marriages are comparatively high. There is a long tradition of local catholics serving at high levels in the security forces- police and army.

    You however have labeled a place you know clearly nothing about as being a bigoted hole.
    Fine if that makes you feel superior go ahead.

  • Big Maggie

    Craigy Hill,

    If you wish confirmation that Larne is a bigoted hole, try these search terms on Google: larne bigoted. Watch those pages fill!

    “Whay does the policing of this incident prove your assertion?”

    Well, let’s take a hypothetical case, shall we? Imagine the counterpart of a Unionist vigilante march in Larne at midnight. Imagine a Nationalist march of 60+ yobs surging through the darkened streets of Newry or Derry. How far do you think they’d get?

  • Dec

    The family in that House who have gone to the media and a Sinn Fein Councillor from 25 miles away refused to speak to the police in the aftermath.

    Craigy Hill

    You’re right to highlight the real offence here: fenians contacting a political representative. On a personal level I’d be loathe to speak to the police in the aftermath of an event when they marched 100 hooded thugs up to my door after midnight then forced me back inside my house (as the CCTV clearly demonstrates) as I tried to discover what the hell was happening.

    You however have labeled a place you know clearly nothing about as being a bigoted hole.

    It must have been the ‘other Larne’ that had almost 650 sectarian incidents over a 3 year period a few years back.

    What can’t be disputed is that ‘this Larne’ is a ugly, grim shithole whatever the community relations.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “I would definitely say that there is far less of a sectarian problem in Larne that in most other places.

    There is practically no segregated housing, no peace walls, people work and socialize together to a very large degree. Increasingly people are educated together, and levels of mixed marriages are comparatively high.”

    What are the “most other places”? Have you ever actually been out of Larne?

  • Craigy Hill

    Dec says
    “fenians contacting a political representative”

    Ignoring your use of a perjoritive term of your choosing, for a moment

    That political representative is from an entirely different constituency. What was wrong with nearer to home? That area is represented by 6 Councillors from all parties, all contactable … oh wait a minute I get it.

    Grimmer than any other equivalent sized market town/ seaport in these Isles? I don’t really think so.

    “they marched 100 hooded thugs up to my door after midnight then forced me back inside my house (as the CCTV clearly demonstrates)

    What the CCTV footage shows is that police made a (correct) decision to get in front of the crowd when it became clear where they were headed to make sure the mob get not move onto the property, and to avert a confrontation.

    Lets face it ‘Dec’ you and ‘Big Maggie’ are just using an opportunity to project your personal prejudices onto an issue. That issue being what is the right way to deal with a dangerous public order situation.

    There are other agendas/ issues at work here…
    Thieves falling out amongst themselves.
    Paramilitaries with no role, public support trying to justify their continued illegitimate existence
    A redrawn East Antrim constituency with a nationalist seat up for grabs at the next election
    A community, human rights driven police service struggling to deal with a situation more familiar to a counter insurgency police force

    Lets see, I assume you say that the PSNI should have scooped everyone who went to that nominally ‘Catholic’ house. Should the PSNI have scooped everyone who went to the previous 5 nominally ‘Protestant’ houses?

    There is certainly a debate to be had about whether they should have immediately deployed the riot Squad when the crowd formed at 1130pm, but that is not a debate you are really interested in is it?
    Loyalist Larne, blah blah blah, bigots, grim shit hole, blah blah blah, too many prods…(that would be a freudian slip eh?)

    Again what cross community paradigm do you reside in? and could you advise us where you got that figure about 650 sectarian ‘incidents’ from. Don’t tell me you googled “an phoblacht Larne bullshit”

  • Craigy Hill

    OK Pigeon if you really want a debate about “My town is less sectarian that your town” I’m up for it.

    But can you name me another equivalent sized town in NI where there is the same degree of mixing in for example housing. Does for example the Prot minority in Newry live throughout that town in every estate and private development?

    I’d be interested to hear as I clearly dont get out enough.

    On the main topic of this thread I see no one is interested in the policing issues this case throws up.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “There is certainly a debate to be had about whether they should have immediately deployed the riot Squad when the crowd formed at 1130pm”

    Um that was the debate until someone threw their dummy out… Oh that was you Craigy.

  • Dec

    That political representative is from an entirely different constituency. What was wrong with nearer to home? That area is represented by 6 Councillors from all parties, all contactable … .

    Just that none of them are from SF. The most illuminating aspect of your tedious and evasive diatribe is the prominence you gave that those whose home was surrounded dared to contact an outsider after being totally let down for the official represenatives of law and order in Larne.

  • Neil

    Grimmer than any other equivalent sized market town/ seaport in these Isles? I don’t really think so.

    I do. Perhaps you have lived in many market towns and seaports over these Isles? Or perhaps not, Larne is a shit hole. A sectarian one at that. Take the following for example:

    A second survey commissioned in May 2004 received 15,361 responses. Once again, people were asked to identify problems in their area from a diverse list of crimes and activities, this time ‘Sectarian Attacks’ was included as an option (Table 11). Across Northern Ireland, almost one in ten respondents identified this issue as being among their top five concerns. However, individual District Command Units (whose boundaries are identical to District Council boundaries) differed widely, with over one quarter of the respondents in Larne ranking ‘Sectarian Attacks’ among their top five concerns, compared with only 2% of the respondents in Moyle.

    So clearly sectarianism is not a problem in larne. It’s only ranked 12.5 times more often as a problem there because, um, well it’s them uppity fenians isn’t it. From the same report:

    PSNI provided figures for sectarian incidents in Larne from April 2001 until 10 March 2004. The statistics reveal that they recorded a total of 294 sectarian incidents in the DCU area in less than three years. There were 136 recorded incidents in 2001/02, 112 the following year and 46 between April 2003 and 10 March 2004. No specific details of the incidents were provided.
    The police did provide an analysis of 47 sectarian incidents in Larne between 9 May and 26 June 2002. This sequence began when serious disorder broke out following a Rangers-Celtic match, with 18 sectarian incidents recorded over the next four days. This indicates that there were a total of 66 sectarian incidents in the town in less than two months. The police report reveals that most incidents were perpetrated by the UDA and their youth wing, the Ulster Young Militants. The victims were predominately Catholic.

    So there you go. 300 attacks, predominantly on catholics by Loyalists in Larne. It sounds like a real nirvana, your civic pride does you proud. I pupt it to you that you don’t experience sectarianism in Larne (grim little shit hole that it is) because there are no gangs of Republicans carrying out sectarian attacks on Prods. You don’t recognise the problem, cause it won’t happen to you. That report, by the way, was from that well known source of nationalist propoganda, the office of the First Minister. Keep denying there’s a problem Craigy boy.

    For anyone who’s prepared to recognise there may be a problem, who’s not an apologist who’ll perform the moral gymnastics as seen from Craigy, here’s that report in full:

    http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/violence.pdf

    BTW Craig, that’s me providing you with a verifiable link to back up my claims. How about you provide the same?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “with over one quarter of the respondents in Larne ranking ‘Sectarian Attacks’ among their top five concerns, compared with only 2% of the respondents in Moyle”

    Cheers Neil, I think that means I won that little challenge Craigy.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Craigy,according to that same report the area that I previously lived in the percentage was 4.

  • Craigy Hill

    Big Maggie
    “a Unionist vigilante march in Larne”
    In what way was this Unionist? Who has claimed this? The mob, the police, the people whose (6) houses was picketed.

    “Imagine a Nationalist march of 60+ yobs surging through the darkened streets of Newry or Derry. How far do you think they’d get?”

    To answer the question I would expect the police to treat what you would describe a ‘Nationalist’ mob which went to the doors of 5 ‘nationalist’ houses and one ‘unionist’ house whose occupants they were accusing of being behind a spate of robberies (which they previously benefited from) in exactly the same way.

    Neil ‘Keep denying there’s a problem Craigy boy’
    Show me where I denied there was a problem, smart fella.
    I have identified the problem as “There is clearly a problem in Larne like practically everywhere in NI and that is the continuing existence of paramilitary crime gangs.”

    ‘Dec’ claimed that there were 650 sectarian incidents in a 3 year period at a not prescribed point sometime in the past.

    The link you produced by googling “Larne 650 sectarian incidents” comes up with the report you have linked to. And no matter how you juggle the figures they do not come up to 650.

    Undeniably 294 incidents was an appallingly high number for that period 2001-2004. If you read Henry McDonald’s book you will find that this was partly a UDA campaign directly from way outside Larne from a Rathcoole direction by a certain late bass drummer… But there was also a significant element of sectarian attacks against Protestants in one estate in the town.

    “So there you go. 300 attacks, predominantly on catholics by Loyalists in Larne.” Yes, Neil if in your twisted logic you decide that incident equals attack and extrapolate from a two month period in 2002.

    Since then there has been excellent civic leadership shown in what was a sink estate, and there is now a waiting list to get into it, a cross community youth soccer facility being built and the community mix is about 50/50.

    Community relations are now extremely good, thanks for asking, much to the frustration of a political party which has tried and failed so far to get a political foothold in the borough.

    Pigeon
    “Cheers Neil, I think that means I won that little challenge Craigy”

    What little challenge? Quoting from a 2004 community survey. I would have put sectarian attacks in my top 5 concerns as well then. This does not ‘prove’ that Larne is a bigoted shithole. It ‘proves’ that a high number of people in Larne were very concerned about sectarianism. And they and the police did something about it.

    I repeat whether you like it or not comparatively speaking Larne is a settled, mixed well integrated place with good community relations. If the remnants of paramilitarism can be finally rooted out it could, like the rest of our country –even the nice shared futuristic places that Big Maggie, Neil Dec and Pigeon Toes hang out in- be even better.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Craigy, I was merely stating that I for one have never lived in fear of a sectarian attack, in 2004,1994, 1984 or any other time…

    The fact that residents in Larne have and continue to speaks volumes…

    Although very sad.

  • Neil

    I have identified the problem as “There is clearly a problem in Larne like practically everywhere in NI and that is the continuing existence of paramilitary crime gangs.”

    But it’s not like practically everywhere else, the report shows that a quarter of people surveyed stated that this was a major concern, which is a much higher number of respondents than anywhere else in NI. So the problem is clearly worse in Larne.

    The link you produced by googling “Larne 650 sectarian incidents” comes up with the report you have linked to. And no matter how you juggle the figures they do not come up to 650.

    Show me where I mentioned 650, smart fella. Your debate with Dec has nothing to do with me. I’m responding to your ludicrous claims that Larne is in some way representative of normal life in NI. It’s not, there are more sectarian incidents, and more people are concerned with sectarianism. The google was ‘Larne sectarian’ btw., it threw up 49,800 results. But there’s no problem in Larne (if you’re a Prod).

    Undeniably 294 incidents …sectarian attacks against Protestants in one estate in the town.

    Blah blah blah. I do not care for your excuses regarding why Loyalists carried out these attacks. They did carry them out though, regardless if directed from Rathcoole or not, and why would a nationalist living in Larne care if the mob of Coleraine Loyalists was sent by someone from Rathcoole or Harper’s Hill? I can see it now, the terrified people receiving a kicking, but consoling themselves with the knowledge that the people who ordered the attacks take place were not from Larne.

    Yes, Neil if in your twisted logic you decide that incident equals attack and extrapolate from a two month period in 2002.

    Well perhaps you can enlighten me as to what other kind of incidents occurred? Perhaps it was a sectarian kiss a thon. You’re an apologist, and scraping the bottom of the barrell.

    I’ll finish by pointing out the obvious, it’s not up to Loyalists to say whether or not Catholics are suffering sectarian attacks or behaviour. You can tell me if you as a prod have been attacked or hassled by nationalists, and how you feel as a prod living in Larne. What you can’t tell me, (though you consistently try, in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and your lack of knowledge due to you being a non catholic) is how Catholics feel living in Larne. Cause you ain’t one. Geddit?

  • Craigy Hill

    The fact that residents in Larne have and continue to speaks volumes

    But that is not a fact.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “But that is not a fact.”

    Says who? You? I would have thought that the family involved in THAT incident live in fear of reprisal…

    Surely if the er “protesters” had knowledge of those involved in crime their responsibility should have been to um report it to the police and await due process?

    Are there not laws about harassment, intimidation, slander, riotous assembly, etc etc

  • Ian

    Nevin:

    ‘“Why am I not shocked ?”

    Perhaps you’re as underinformed as O’Connor when it comes to the political control of policing and justice, CS.

    Have you not researched such control post-1985? Did you not know that police officers could observe paramilitary wrong-doing but could not ruffle paramilitary feathers without political clearance? Why do you imagine President McAleese has been ‘hobnobbing’ with loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers?’

    Ah, but this being in South-East Antrim surely it is the work of the ‘Bad UDA’, not Jackie Macdonald’s ‘Good UDA’ that McAleese has been hobnobbing with?

    It’s perhaps pertinent to compare the tactics with those of the North Antrim/LD ‘brigade’, which held a similar ‘show of strength’ in Derry recently and which seems to have become semi-detached of late from the ‘mainstream’ Belfast UDA lot. What’s going on I wonder?

  • Ian, I’ve not had sight of the loyalist and republican ‘Chosen Few’ listing. It may well contain the Good, the Bad and the Ugly 🙂

  • kensei

    How can you have a peaceful protest at midnight? This was riotous assembly, even if there was no violence, the men were testing the water.

    Far be it for me to defend loyalists, but buh, er what!? You have a protest with no violence, then people go home. This is an insane attitude that presumes more than any police force has the right to, unless we’re into Minority Report and future crime territory.

    Perhaps they are testing the water. The essence of good policing is permitting everything up to the line, then coming down quickly as soon as it is crossed. Anticipate potential problems, sure, but only police what actually happens.

  • LongDan Sweeney

    Whilst I have my own opinons about the make up of the marchers/demonstrators/loyalist bullyboys/criminals.

    The question of the time is largely ignored. As a father of two I can tell you that groups such as this are designed to be loud and intimidating. They put fear into children who were asleep and that fear stays for a long time. Perhaps it makes children fear the organisation involved, want to avoid antagonising this group….perhaps join it to stay safe………ooh eerr.

    Method in thyggish madness

  • LongDan Sweeney

    Should have been ‘thuggish’ if that is a word

  • kensei

    LongDan

    If they are causing a ruckus in a residential area at midnight where there are young children or people trying to sleep for work then that this reasonable grounds for restriction.

    If they are going to line the streets holding placards or candles with minimal noise, then there really is no right to stop them. I’m not suggesting that is what happened, or was planned, just you have to police what’s there.

  • Neil

    That’s fair enough Kensei but like the hanging of flags on lamposts (illegal) and orangemen pishing in street corners (also illegal) it is an actionable crime for the police to have more than two people convening at once. They have the legal right to move on or arrest the people in question, they just don’t use it.

    A little research on google reminds me that any procession or assembly of three or more persons is duty bound to provide written notice, start times, end times etc., failure to do so being an offence. We all remember that farce where a circus got in trouble for not contacting the parades commission to take their elephant out for a dander.

    It is also illegal to assemble if such an assembly is likely to make a third party feel intimidated, to carry signs which may intimidate, and if there is any reason to belive that violence or threatening behaviour may occur physically, verbally or through the carrying of signs.

    That from the 1986 public order act.

    http://www.swarb.co.uk/acts/1986Public_OrderAct.shtml

  • pedant

    Neil

    Have a look at sec 42 of the Public Order Act – “The provisions of this act extend to England and Wales…..”