The head of the Police Federation in Northern has asked for those involved in this year’s marching season to mimic the “good natured” spirit displayed by football fans at the Euro 2016 tournament.
Mark Lindsay, whose body represents just over 6,500 police officers, said that the bonhomie shown by both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland supporters at the sporting contest proved that large-scale trouble-free gatherings around the Twelfth could be possible.
He was speaking after Assistant Chief Constable said he believed this year appeared to be less tense than previous recent marching seasons, while the Orange Order has also issued calls for those participating in parades not to get carried away by drink (see page eight).
Mr Lindsay said in a statement: “Officers don’t make the laws or parade determinations. They are there to see to it that the law is upheld.
“I would like to see the same good-natured, respectful and law-abiding behaviour so evident in Euro 2016 to be repeated on the streets next week.
“The fans were a credit to the two teams and, if we had a re-run next week of the spirit of Euro 2016, then society generally will be the big winner.
“The officers I represent want nothing more than a trouble-free Twelfth where they are not the target for people who have little or no respect or understanding for the job that they do.
“Our fans were first-class ‘ambassadors’ in France. They showed that people could enjoy themselves without resorting to offensive or bad behaviour on the streets.
“We don’t want to see officers hurt in the execution of their duties.
Neither they nor the wider community, of which they, too, are a part, wants unrest and disorder. Euro 2016 demonstrated that it can be done, and done well.”
Last year’s marching season was marred by attacks against officers by loyalist thugs in north Belfast.