Belfast Telegraph

Bill for policing riots tops £550k

By Adrian Rutherford

The cost of policing serious rioting which erupted in north Belfast last month topped £500,000, it can be revealed.

Dozens of PSNI officers were injured during the disorder in the Carlisle Circus area over three nights.

Trouble broke out on Sunday, September 2 and continued on the Monday and Tuesday nights, with 56 officers hurt and three needing hospital treatment.

Now it has emerged that the cost of policing the riots came to £553,000.

The total, released by the PSNI after a Freedom of Information request, includes dealing with minor disorder on September 5 and 6.

North Belfast SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said it was an extraordinary waste of public money.

“Think how many teachers that could employ, how many young people could be trained or given jobs,” he said.

“It is just mind-boggling that this happened, and for no good reason. It is madness.”

The matter is due to be discussed at a meeting of the Policing Board today.

“It is an extraordinary waste of public money and resources,” added Mr Maginness. “Also, consider the damage caused to property and individuals, because arising out of this you will have police officers off sick and injured.

“These are extra costs not included in that total. The true cost will be much higher.”

The trouble started on September 2 after a republican parade close to Carlisle Circus.

Police officers were attacked with petrol bombs, fireworks, bricks and bottles during hours of disorder involving up to 350 loyalists.

Violence flared again the following night when loyalists and|nationalists faced off. At one|stage a bus was hijacked and set alight.

Yesterday the PSNI revealed five people had been charged in connection with the disorder.

They will all appear in court later this month.

Background

Every year hundreds of thousands of pounds are paid to police riots in Northern Ireland, with £1.6m spent in 2011 alone. Nearly half the bill — some £720,000 — resulted from a single night's trouble in north Belfast on July 12, 2011.

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