Marching season cost PSNI more than £15 million

Almost 700 officers injured in unrest since July 2012, 19 seriously

 

The PSNI has spent more than £15 million (€17.8 million) policing parades and protests since April of this year while 689 officers have been injured in such disorder since July of last year, it was disclosed today.

Police said 19 of the officers sustained serious injuries including fractures and dislocations.

The PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott told yesterday’s meeting of the North’s Policing Board that there were real consequences to these protests which were damaging all communities. “We cannot tackle the scourge of drugs, anti-social behaviour or even child exploitation when people are holding the line night after night,” he said.

It also emerged that it is costing £300,000 weekly to police nightly loyalist protests in north Belfast. These protests have been continuing each night since July 12th when Orangemen were banned from parading past the shops at Ardoyne.

The Policing Board also learned yesterday that as a result of dealing with public disorder that there were almost 3,500 fewer arrests in Northern Ireland in the past nine months compared to the same period last year. There were 467 fewer people charged than the previous year.

This was because police were diverted from normal crime-fighting duties to tackle the protests and parades.

PSNI assistant chief constable Will Kerr told the board that the longer police must deal with “abnormal policing” the more difficult it will be to address “normal, core policing activity”.

“We need to get back to doing our core job. We need to get back to tackling the scourge of drugs, arresting burglars, arresting domestic abusers, to keeping people safe on our roads,” he said.