Belfast Telegraph

Police probe into Belfast Somme parade 'stoppages'

The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade takes place in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Preparations for the annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Preparations for the annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The annual Somme Commemoration parade in Belfast (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Police are investigating "stoppages" during Monday night's Somme commemoration parade in east Belfast.

Sinn Fein hit out at the policing operation saying there were "numerous failings" such as "prolonged stops" to the parade, which passed off peacefully.

The party said given the appearance of new Chief Constable Simon Byrne on the ground for the police operation, his organisation should have been focused on the job and not on photo-opportunities.

Mr Byrne praised the "outstanding" work of his officers.

Sinn Fein representative Mairead O'Donnell welcomed the peaceful passing of the parade - one of the biggest ahead of the Twelfth - but said she would be raising issues with the police saying lessons needed to be learned.

"We have worked hard with the PSNI and local residents to ensure a scaling back of the usual ‘screening-off’ of the parade route. This allowed for less disruption to local residents and traffic in the city," she said.

“Numerous issues presented themselves during the operation - not least numerous, prolonged stops to the parade itself."

The councillor said dialogue between parade organisers and resident could ensure there was no need for police in future years.

Responding Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said: “Prior to last night’s operation, police engaged with local community representatives and the parade organiser, and agreed that screens which were easier to install than those used in previous years would be used along the Albertbridge Road.

"This reduced the overall time period of disruption to both the local community and wider traffic network by over four hours.

“Police will continue to engage with the local community in reviewing the success of the policing operation and as always welcome feedback from community representatives. Police are aware of stoppages during the parade and this will be the subject of further investigation.”

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