Belfast Telegraph

Video: Police officer 'stood down' over 'bye bye' bonfire remark

By Mark Edwards

A PSNI officer has been stood down from operational duty for comments made during the filming of the removal of a Belfast bonfire from inside a police Land Rover.

The footage, which emerged on social media, shows the dismantling of the bonfire at Cluan Place in east Belfast on Wednesday.

General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
11th July 2018 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com The 11th night bonfire is dismantled in Cluan Place in East Belfast.
11th July 2018 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com The 11th night bonfire is dismantled in Cluan Place in East Belfast.
11th July 2018 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com The 11th night bonfire is dismantled in Cluan Place in East Belfast.
11th July 2018 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com The 11th night bonfire is dismantled in Cluan Place in East Belfast.
11th July 2018 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com The 11th night bonfire is dismantled in Cluan Place in East Belfast.
Councillor Jim Rodgers speaks to the police. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI at the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast as contractors removes material from the 11th night bonfire in Cluan Place. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the PSNI officers at the scene of the Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast as contractors remove material from the 11th night bonfire. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Jamie Bryson at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

During the video radio transmissions between police officers can be heard as the bonfire is pushed over by machinery.

Towards the end of the clip, someone can be heard saying "bye bye bonfire" as the pyre is knocked over.

The PSNI said it was aware of the footage and confirmed it was filmed by a police officer.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “We hold our officers to the highest standard of conduct and it is clear that this conduct has fallen far short of the standards we set.

"The officer was quickly identified and immediately stood down from operational duty pending internal enquiries into their conduct.

"It is important to say that we view the actions of this individual officer as completely unacceptable and are certainly not representative of the excellent work carried out by officers across Northern Ireland last night.”

Tensions were high in the area on Wednesday after contractors guarded by police moved into Cluan Place to remove the bonfire which had been deemed unsafe.

Earlier in the day the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire was set on fire before Department of Infrastructure contractors were able to move in to reduce the pyre to three metres and remove further bonfire material from the site.

The move to reduce the height came after a High Court order which deemed the pyre a risk to property.

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