Erect flags in mixed communities? Earn a pass from PSNI. Shout a slogan? End up in court.

If ever an episode captured the reason why faith remains weak in the PSNI’s ability or desire to perform its duties on a consistent, non-partisan basis, then it is this.

The PSNI arrested and charged, on the count of disorderly behaviour, a man on March 23 for shouting ‘Tiocfaidh ar la’ in the direction of PSNI officers. The judge who found the defendant guilty stated that his words met the criminal test of annoying members of the public.

Let’s dwell for a while on that one.

Annoying members of the public as the criminal test. Let’s see…….

Meanwhile, the PSNI Chief Constable is currently seeking to fast-track his appeal of a verdict by Justice Treacy last month in which the PSNI were found to be ‘labouring under a material misapprehension’ in believing the police could not- or should not- hamper illegal loyalist parades. Not like those parades annoyed members of the public.

It also emerged today (Irish News page 5) that the PSNI is being challenged in the courts for accepting incomplete forms for loyalist protests and marches, a tactic which has allowed loyalists to continue proceeding with illegal marches without being held accountable legally. Again, it is hardly unclear whether or not those illegal parades caused angst to members of the public.

And, of course, who could forget the standard PSNI cry of impotence when challenged to act when the bigoted loyalist bully boys descend on mixed residential communities to erect flags.

Naturally, we await the pending arrest, charge and conviction of loyalists on the count of crying ‘No Surrender…’