Belfast Telegraph

Chief Constable rejects criticism of policing in Londonderry - 405 officers deployed despite 'myths'

Chief Constable George Hamilton has rejected what he called the "social media myths" surrounding policing operations in Derry in recent days.

Shots were fired at police in what was described by the PSNI as a "blatant bid to murder police" on Tuesday night.

Around sixteen petrol bombs and five paint bombs were thrown from the Bogside area.

Mr Hamilton said that he had spent Wednesday in Derry reviewing PSNI resources with staff.

"405 officers deployed despite the social media myths of imbalanced policing," he wrote on Twitter.

It comes after days of unrest in the area with the Protestant estate of the Fountain being targeted and a Housing Executive van being hijacked at gunpoint and burned.

The Republic of Ireland's deputy leader Tanaiste Simon Coveney called for an end to the ongoing violence.

Mr Coveney, who also serves as Foreign Minister said lives were being put in danger.

“I am very concerned at the escalation of the violence in Derry overnight. It is clear that shots were fired in an attempt to endanger the lives of PSNI officers in the area. The ongoing reckless endangerment of lives, which is being orchestrated by a small and violent minority, must stop," the Tanaiste said.

"I welcome the statement from the leaders of the main political parties in Northern Ireland which called for communities to stand together to protect the rule of law. This joint statement is a testament to the continuing good relations that have been built up in the city over many years. This unity will not be challenged or destroyed by the criminal and sectarian actions of a small number of individuals.

"It is shocking to see that young people are being allowed- and even encouraged- to engage in the dangerous activities of the last few nights. I would urge all those involved to consider their actions and reflect on the damage that they are wreaking on their city and their community.”

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley called on community representatives to intervene.

"Anyone, who was in this part of the city, at this time, including children or young people could have been killed. This murderous attack has to be condemned by all right thinking individuals," she said.

"I would call on all people of influence within the community to continue their efforts to encourage dialogue and reduce tensions. Anyone with any information about these incidents should contact the police.

"We will continue to work with the police to keep people safe."

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