04 August 2005

Orde rebuked over stand-off scenes

Belfast Telegraph

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
04 August 2005

CHIEF Constable Sir Hugh Orde has been told at Policing Board headquarters that the "disturbing and sinister" images of police inaction during the Garnerville stand-off must never be repeated.

During the meeting yesterday the SDLP also challenged senior officers over the decision to fire plastic baton rounds during recent violence at the Ardyone on July 12.

Police were heavily criticised following the recent UVF occupation of a housing estate in the Garnerville area as a number of LVF linked figures were driven from the area as part of feud related tensions.

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said: "We made it as clear as day to the Chief Constable that the Garnerville debacle must never again be repeated.

"The image and the message of loyalist paramilitaries in control was disturbing and sinister.

"After all the advances on policing in recent years, it was a throw-back to the bad policing of past years."

Earlier this week Sir Hugh defended the actions and insisted the PSNI was in control of the streets, rather than loyalist paramilitaries.

During the meeting the use of plastic baton rounds for the first time in three years at Ardoyne was also raised.

Police discharged 22 rounds after they came under ferocious attack from nationalist residents after the passing of a controversial Orange parade. Over 100 police and a number of journalists were hurt.

Mr Attwood said: "The attack on the police in Ardoyne was ferocious and orchestrated, as bad as anything in recent years, but the use of plastic bullets, after three years without use, remains unacceptable to the SDLP.

"The SDLP, nonetheless, has urged the PSNI to build on the better policing practice and considerable restraint demonstrated in Ardoyne."

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