PSNI arrests 106 suspected rioters over Twelfth violence

Total of 77 people so far charged with range of offences linked to loyalist rioting

A loyalist protester gestures to PSNI officers in the Woodvale Road area of North Belfast during a faceoff after continuing violence in the days after the Twelfth of July this year. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

A loyalist protester gestures to PSNI officers in the Woodvale Road area of North Belfast during a faceoff after continuing violence in the days after the Twelfth of July this year. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

 

More than 100 people have been arrested as part of a major police crackdown on loyalist rioters.

The PSNI said 106 people were detained by detectives from the Operation Titan team investigating serious disorder that flared in parts of north and east Belfast on the Twelfth of July.

A total of 77 people have been charged with a range of offences linked to the trouble and a further 10 people have been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Det Supt Sean Wright, who is leading the investigation, said: “It is vital that we all send out a message to those involved in public disorder that such behaviour will not be tolerated. Those who break the law must face consequences for their actions.

“They will be dealt with appropriately and proportionately through the criminal justice system.”

Ruling enforced

More than 40 police officers were injured after being pelted with fireworks, masonry, bricks, bottles and other missiles as they enforced a ruling by the Parades Commission adjudication body which prevented Orangemen from marching on a contested stretch of road in north Belfast.

There were also violent clashes after Orange Order parades past a sectarian flashpoint in the lower Newtownards Road area of east Belfast on the Twelfth.

The PSNI said the Operation Titan detectives were investigating a range of offences including the attempted murder of police officers, blast bomb attacks on police, hijackings, rioting, breaches of the Parades Commission determination and unlawful protests.

They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward and have rereleased images of 17 men they are keen to speak to.

Mr Wright added: “I would ask anyone who believes one of the images is of them to contact us immediately in order to help us with our inquiries.”

Psychological treatment

Last week the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, claimed there had been an increase in the number of officers seeking psychological treatment after being caught up in violence.

Federation chairman Terry Spence said almost 500 policemen and women in total had been hurt between last year’s troubled marching season, disorder linked to the Union flag protests earlier this year and violence this summer.

Officers also still face a severe threat from dissident republicans.

The union is pressing for 1,000 extra officers to be recruited to the force, which currently stands at about 7,000 members.

PA