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Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson responds after 'absurd' arrest on suspicion of supplying unlicensed door staff


Jamie Bryson

Jamie Bryson

Jamie Bryson

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of supplying unlicensed door staff.

Mr Bryson, who represents the East Belfast Community Initiative, confirmed the arrest on Thursday night after being released.

In a video statement the prominent loyalist said his arrest was "absurd" and questioned the legality of the policing operation.

"I was arrested today in relation to supplying doormen," he said. "To do this they searched three premises with a vast amount of TSG units [Tactical Support Unit] and officers as well as SIA [Security Industry Authority] apparently, from England."

In a statement released by the PSNI earlier today a spokesman said officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) supported by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) conducted a search and arrest operation in Ards and North Down on Thursday.

The police said the operation was investigating criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF. However, Mr Bryson said the mention of the UVF was used to "blacken his name".

The statement said a 28-year-old man was arrested following searches at two residential addresses in Bangor and Donaghadee, as well as an office premises in Newtownards.

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He was arrested under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and was taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning.

A number of items were seized during the searches, including a BB gun, a number of laptops, documents, camouflage clothing and an iPad.

The PSNI then confirmed the arrested man had been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: "The PSNI works closely with the SIA on a range of initiatives to ensure the public are kept safe by assuring that security staff are correctly licensed.

"This is important work as the public are exposed to door staff when, at times, they are at their most vulnerable through the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

“The PCTF is determined to disrupt and frustrate any criminal activities linked to paramilitaries. And we will continue to be relentless in delivering our contribution in working towards creating the environment in which a culture of lawfulness can thrive across all our communities.

“There is no hiding place for paramilitaries or criminality linked to them as they destroy people’s lives and harm the very communities they claim to be defenders of."

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