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Revealed: The massive bill for policing Twaddell protest

By Sara Lyness

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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