The PSNI has defended a police operation during which a mob of up to 70 masked men gathered outside a house in Larne and shouted abuse at the residents.
A woman in the house accused police of facilitating the protest outside her home in the early hours of Monday morning which she said has left her and her family terrified.
She said she believes that those involved in the incident, which occurred shortly after midnight on July 27 and which was captured on CCTV, were known paramilitaries. It is understood the mob gathered to protest against a former member of the household who has not lived there for several months.
“The police were in front of this mob, they led them directly outside my front door. I watched in total disbelief. I thought every window in the house was going to be put in and the car damaged. We had no prior knowledge that this was going to happen,” the woman told the Nolan Show.
“It is not justifiable that the police allowed them to come to my door. When my husband, my son and myself went down to the front door the police ushered us back in. They would not let us out onto our own property. They let that mob intimidate me, they did not do anything to stop it. Why did they not arrest everyone of them?” she added.
The PSNI insisted that during public order incidents police actions will be “appropriate and proportionate”.
Chief Inspector Ryan Henderson said: “This matter is the subject of a thorough on-going police investigation and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on this matter at this time.
“Public order incidents such as the recent protest are challenging policing operations.
“During such incidents police actions, which will be appropriate and proportionate, are designed to minimise the risk to life and property. That is not always an easy task.
“The perfect scenario is, of course, that all sides are entirely happy with the policing response, however, I think the people of Larne realise that, sadly, this will not always be possible in all cases.”
He added: “On the evening in question an evidence gathering team formed an important part of our response, and now in the aftermath of the event an investigation is ongoing to establish what, if any offences, were committed by those participating in the protest.
“Where there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution we will submit a report, which will include CCTV footage, to the Public Prosecution Service.
“I can reassure the public that Larne PSNI will not hesitate to bring to justice anyone identified as having broken the law.”