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Trouble aside, Belfast can hold its head high

I'm an Australian police officer who visited your beautiful city as a competitor in the recent World Police and Fire Games.

I would like to thank the games organisers, volunteers and many residents I met for their friendliness and help.

Without exception they were keen for me to be left with a positive image of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

I visited locations such as Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and walked the Cave Hill trail behind Belfast Castle.

The Irish countryside is as spectacular as I imagined it would be. In addition I took a cab tour of the Falls Road and Shankill Road areas.

I, like many of my fellow competitors, also saw some of what happened on Royal Avenue on Friday, August 9.

Unfortunately, coverage of these types of incidents are all we usually see of Belfast in the media so I hope they are soon a thing of the past.

The grim statistics of police injuries reported in your newspaper on August 13, add further reason for that hope.

As police officers we don't join up expecting a pat on the back for everything we do but we also have a reasonable expectation that we don't become society's punching bag.

Fortunately, those events were in stark contrast to everything else I encountered during the games.

I'm glad I came to visit.

You have much to be proud of and I hope to visit again one day.

Thanks again, Belfast.

Steve Ockerby

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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