Parade participants must co-operate with police

Now that the furore has died down over the conflict on the Ormeau Road on Easter Tuesday it may be a good time to reflect on what is expected from those on parade.

The Parades Commission has produced guidelines which are available on-line or hard copy from the commission.

The present guidelines date from 2005 and are appended to all determinations.

The portions of the guidelines relevant to the events on the Ormeau are:

1. Public Procession

Whenever possible, the public procession should be positioned on one side of the carriageway so as to allow for the free flow of traffic, or as otherwise stipulated by police.

2. Policing

Organisers of public processions must co-operate with the police from the time of submission of the notice of intention to organise a public procession until the public procession disperses.

Given that many of today’s bands are very large and walk 7/8 abreast it is therefore very difficult for the police restrict them to one side of the carriageway and to maintain a free flow of traffic.

It would help if bands restricted themselves to four abreast when processing a major highway where the free flow of traffic must be maintained.

The bottom line is that all participants must co-operate with the police.

This means obeying the police because it is they who have the ultimate responsibility for public safety.

Brian Kennaway, Former member of the Parades Commission