Belfast Telegraph

Police defend interface violence leaflet drop

Police in Londonderry have defended the decision to publish and distribute leaflets with the photographs of young people they want to question in connection with sectarian violence.

A total of 35,000 leaflets were distributed this week across the city side of Derry but were criticised by residents’ and human rights groups who suggested the rights of the youths were being violated.

However, Inspector Jon Burrows said the main focus of the police in Foyle was the protection of victims.

“I am mindful of the criticism the leaflet drop has brought but our primary concern remains the protection of victims of violence,” he said.

“There had been a big problem in this town with sectarian interface violence but since we started publishing photographs of people we wanted to identify this has dropped dramatically and the leaflets are just taking this initiative to the next level.

“We had the worst May and the worst June for sectarian disorder at the interface for five years. We needed to do something about it.”

Inspector Burrows said a human rights advisor had been consulted and told them the leaflets were proportionate and lawful.

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