Belfast Telegraph

PSNI approach to removing loyalist flags 'frustrating'

Eric Hanvey
Eric Hanvey
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The PSNI'S 'what's the point' attitude to removing UVF flags from a mixed housing estate in south Belfast is undermining confidence in policing, an Alliance councillor has said.

Belfast councillor Eric Hanvey had contacted the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) requesting the loyalist flags be removed from Cantrell Close, just off the Ravenhill Road. Earlier this month Belfast City Council voted to take legal action against DfI for its failure to take down paramilitary flags and banners on its property.

Mr Hanvey said: "The attitude from the PSNI seems to simply be there is no point in removing them as more will only be put up.

"Certainly this is what the Department has communicated back to me in a detailed letter on the issue," he added. He says the response is "simply not good enough".

Calling on the PSNI to take action or explain their decision, he added: "Not only should the PSNI be taking a stronger stance against those determined to intimidate and threaten others, but to simply take a 'what's the point' approach leaves little faith in any actions taken by police locally. I am beyond disappointed at this approach and know that many who have chosen to live in a shared housing scheme will feel that same frustration."

"The way in which agencies and the PSNI constantly pass responsibility for illegal flags is extremely frustrating for those seeking their removal."

In response, PSNI Inspector Keith Hutchinson said the flying of any flag should be carried out with the consent of the person or organisation who owns the street furniture, or property on which the item is flown or displayed.

He added: "I can assure residents we will continue to work with communities and partners to find lasting solutions, however, police action on its own is not sufficient; we all need to work together for a confident, peaceful society."

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