When I watched police actions with the Clyde Valley band taking part in the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) parade last Saturday I was astonished at the extent of utter incompetence of senior police commanders in charge.
The small emblem the band was displaying on their uniform was first seen and highlighted by police at the assembly point who informed silver command seeking directions, but none came.
The band was allowed to join the parade and marched to the bottom of Carlisle Road where it was stopped by police for a 40-minute standoff, with police on the ground seeking further directions from silver command but none came.
At this stage the situation deteriorated to the point were several police officers were physically assaulted, including the inspector in charge.
The band was then allowed to continue to parade flanked by police in high visibility coats which had the effect of highlighting the band within the procession to the world and his brother.
The band was allowed to complete the parade route and returned to the start point, boarding the bus for home and leaving the city.
At this point a senior commander decided she wanted the names and addresses of all band members which resulted in the bus being stopped and detained several miles away from the city for two hours and 40 minutes, resulting in a standoff between the band and the senior police commander.
I would be confident that this small emblem was not seen by any nationalists/republicans as they do not normally come out to watch and celebrate the occasion.
This is supported by the fact that there was no public disorder between opposing factions during the parade.
It would appear that the only people taking issue with the band was the police who went over the top in their response and subsequent actions.
I do not blame the rank and file officers on the ground who were having to operate under senior command direction or more importantly lack of direction.
Even the dogs on the street would know that the appropriate point to challenge the band, if deemed necessary, which I don’t, was the assembly point outside the city away from public view, keeping the situation at a very low key, bearing in mind that this band had previously paraded at several locations in the province without any mention or interference.