Policing The North
Sir, - In the context of the implementation of the Patten-inspired changes to the delivery of policing services in Northern Ireland, may I share a significant experience which occurred on Sunday November 26th?
I was travelling by car into Belfast on the Ligoniel Road. Just before the junction of with the old Wolfhill Mill Avenue, there was a car parked in the centre of the road with both doors open. In it were two RUC officers using the car to prevent traffic proceeding further. Their purpose was to secure space for a procession which was preceded by another unmarked RUC car. The procession included bands headed by displays of flags including the Tricolour, which led the procession, the flags of each of the four provinces of Ireland, and the Starry Plough. The folk in the procession wore combat-style clothing.
After it had passed we were allowed to proceed and discovered that the RUC had performed the same service for traffic control at a point further down the road. The whole was an impressive display of the appropriate application of law and order for a one-community event. It was a wonderful sign of hope. - Yours, etc.,
Salters Sterling, Birr, Co Offaly.