Belfast Telegraph

Belfast riots cost police £1.1m

Riots in north Belfast over July 12 cost police £1.1 million.

It was the equivalent to a neighbourhood policing team of eight officers working in Ardoyne for three years, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable Matt Baggott said.

Several police officers were injured during three nights of violence which began on July 12 after a loyal order parade through the nationalist estate.

More than 40 people have so far been charged with the trouble across Belfast over the same period.

Mr Baggott told the Policing Board in the city: "Unfortunately that area will no longer get the 24 police officers over the three years that they would have got had we not spent £1.1 million policing that parade."

Police came under fire from missiles and explosives during some of the worst violence for years after an Orange Order parade. More than 80 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers were injured during three nights of unrest in the republican neighbourhood.

A man was charged with attempted murder and riotous assembly after a piece of masonry was dropped on the head of a policewoman during the Ardoyne trouble. She was fortunate to escape serious injury.

The police are facing demands to make savings with a recruitment freeze one of the steps forced upon managers as part of wider public service cut backs.

Mr Baggott added: "The reality is that we spend £1.1 million in a three-day period preventing people from losing their lives and preventing disturbances from moving to something far more traumatic and damaging. There was not the control of the communities, there was not the control of the young people.

"The overwhelming feeling I have about these events is one of great sadness. I would have liked to have spent money on creating neighbourhood policing that wins hearts and minds and improves people's lives. The reality is I don't have £1.1 million now."

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