“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.”

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