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Revealed: The massive bill for policing Twaddell protest

By Sara Lyness

Published 23/11/2015

Gerald Solinas in a caravan at the protest camp at the junction of Twaddell Avenue and the Crumlin Road last night
Gerald Solinas in a caravan at the protest camp at the junction of Twaddell Avenue and the Crumlin Road last night
Loyalist protest in the Woodvale area of north Belfast
Supporters of the Orange Order at Camp Twaddell in North Belfast, a protest than has run for more than 15 months
Loyalists hold a white line protest at Twaddell Avenue
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. PSNI officers erect a makeshift barrier at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
A Twaddell avenue protester dressed as a PSNI officer is pictured as Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Trouble flares at the Ardoyne and Twaddell Avenue interface last night with police deploying water cannon in response to the disturbances
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Christian peace campaigners pictured at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas speaks to the PSNI at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
Nelson McCausland MLA (centre) joins loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
A protest at the interface area at Twaddell Avenue, Belfast, is monitored by PSNI officers
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Belfast - Northern Ireland - Monday 13th July 2015 - Ardoyne Parade Outward Pictured is Twaddell residents at the Orange order parade and its associated protests as it makes its way past the flashpoint of the Ardoyne Shopfront in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye.
The police presence at Twaddell Avenue as Orangemen, bands and supporters march pass Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Police at Twaddell on Monday after a device was launched at a PSNI patrol on the Woodvale Road in North Belfast

The bill for policing the Twaddell Avenue protest camp has hit a whopping £18.5 million - that’s almost £24,000 every day.

Loyalists set up the “permanent” camp in 2013 after Orangemen were banned by the Parades Commission from marching past the Ardoyne on their way home from that years Twelfth of July celebrations.

Violence flared following the boycott and dozens of police officers were injured.

Protesters have maintained a presence at the interface ever since.

The small Twaddell camp consists of just a caravan, a portacabin and some toilets - but sporadic violence at the site means there’s been a police presence there since August 2013.

overtime

Responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the PSNI revealed £12.8 million of the overall figure is made up of police overtime payments and employer’s national insurance contributions, and the remaining £5.7 million is duty time costs.

That works out at £23,984 spent to police the camp every day.

Police overtime and employer’s national insurance makes up £16,588 of that while duty time accounts for the remaining £7,396.

The FOI figures cover a 772 day period from August 20, 2013 until the end of September.

As of today, the camp has been policed for 863 days.

In June, Justice Minister David Ford (inset) told the Assembly that at its peak, the bill for policing the camp stood at nearly £1 million per month.

He said money that should be spent on community policing, was instead going to cover the cost of policing Twaddell.

He said: “All of that is money which is either being spent on additional overtime, which is creating pressures on police officers and the police budget, or it is a cost from the officers being redeployed from other duties including the basic everyday crime fighting and public reassurance that members tell me frequently they want to see in their constituencies.

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