Following controversy over the detention of Clyde Valley flute band by the roadside, Roy Beggs, East Antrim MLA has met with senior PSNI officers at their Knock HQ to express the perception of a lack of balance shown in recent policing.
Roy Beggs MLA said;
“There was no determination or conditions set by the Parades Commission for the recent Apprentice Boys’ parade. So I fail to understand how the Larne based Clyde Valley bands 2019 uniform which included a Parachute Regiment insignia on their sleeve, could have breached the law. The UUP Leader, Robin Swann MLA was actually on the ground at the Maiden City bridge on Saturday and tried to resolve the parade standoff. It appears that there has been a complete overreaction by the local PSNI bronze commander who would have authorised the TSG’s to intervene and which contributed to raising tensions during the parade.
Why were TSG officers drawn in so early, heightening tensions? Why after the parade was the band pulled in by a show of force by ten TSG land rovers? Recently we have witnessed TSG’s withdrawing from the Republican bonfire in North Belfast and the dangerous bonfire was allowed. There is a perception from many in the Unionist community that there has not been even handedness in policing.
During the course of the meeting Roy Beggs MLA highlighted that “It is important that policing is seen to be even handed and that the PSNI retains support from the entire community.” Ulster Unionist representatives also highlighted the importance of de-escalating the situation and learning lessons to reduce tension at present and in the future.