Police response to band ‘unnecessary and disproportionate’

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
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I enthusiastically support the PSNI and appreciate the difficult task they have in policing our divided community.

However, I am absolutely dismayed at their unnecessary and disproportionate response to events in Londonderry on Saturday.

There is a palpable anger across a broad swathe of the unionist community.

Saturday’s response was not the fault of individual officers on the ground. Responsibility rests solely with the upper echelons of the PSNI.

Here was a band that had small insignia wings of the Parachute Regiment on their sleeves with a small letter ‘F’ contained below.

It was so small it was barely legible.

The regiment is an integral part of the British Army which served and protected our society from terrorism.

The manner in which the police deployed, circled the band, disrupted the entire parade, then proceeded around the route with the band, flanked by 30 officers, was a gross over-reaction.

Incredibly the band were then detained on the road side with full riot paraphernalia.

When have the PSNI ever acted in a similar manner against mainstream republicans?

The entire concept of republican parades is the glorification and eulogising of terror.

Many of those participants are decked out in paramilitary garb and celebrating horrendous deeds of the past.

Why in those instances with republican parades did the PSNI not move in, take names, publicly rebuke the participants, as they did on Saturday?

There now appears to exist a two-tier approach to policing the expression of the unionist community.

Sammy Heenan, Rathfriland