Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott drafts in G8 officers for support during Twelfth Orange Order parades

Chief Constable Matt Baggott
Chief Constable Matt Baggott

Hundreds of police officers from across the UK who were trained for the G8 summit will be drafted in as support for PSNI officers during the Twelfth Orange Order parades.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said around 630 extra officers will be deployed for the marching season in Northern Ireland.

Speaking last night, Mr Baggott said the operational move was made as this year represented a "unique July 12" with more than 550 parades, and 43 regarded as "sensitive".

Mr Baggott said that armed police officers would accompany the officers from England, Scotland and Wales.

They will be used as a "strategic reserve" and deployed in less sensitive areas.

"We are determined that this year the parades will pass off peacefully," he said.

Mr Baggott said the image of Northern Ireland on a world stage was a positive one following the success of the G8.

"I don't want a single day to set that back by months, so we have prepared for every eventuality," he said.

"The most important thing is that violence is not an inevitability and 2013 is the year when the cycle of violence will be broken."

He said the decision did not indicate concern at upcoming Parades Commission determinations, but that the PSNI was "planning for every eventuality".

"When you have large numbers of people on the streets our primary concern is always about people's safety," he said. "To do that against this scale I need large numbers of police officers."

But the chief constable insisted he was "not setting a routine".

He also said he did not want young people to become involved in rioting.

"I want my police officers, my colleagues to be dealing with the things that blight communities in terms of day to day crime and not having to investigate disorder as we've done for the first three months of this year," he added.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland welcomed the decision by the Chief Constable.

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