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PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott (file photo)
PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott (file photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

PSNI: 'Un-notified processions must now come to an end'

The Chief Constable of the PSNI, Matt Baggott, also said that Public Processions Act did not act as a suitable deterrent.
Feb 26th 2013, 2:45 PM 3,322 2

THE CHIEF CONSTABLE of the PSNI has said that marches and protests in Northern Ireland which do not notify the Parades Commission “must now come to an end”.

The statement by Matt Baggott comes a day after the chairman of the Parades Commission, Peter Osborne, played down the role that the organisation had in the majority of protests in Northern Ireland.

Responding to calls that the commission should intervene in ongoing flag protests, Osborne said that where these took place without permission, the police had a number of options open to them under current laws.

Echoing the need for prior notification, Baggott said now was the time for “responsible civic leadership.”

“Our approach to the flag dispute has been consistent in that we have put public safety first, dealt with disorder firmly and are bringing people before the courts for breaking the law,” he said.

This is entirely in line with our responsibilities and accountability. Un-notified processions must now come to an end.

The chief constable said that the PSNI was “entirely right” in asking the Parades Commission to “consider its role in relation to un-notified processions.”

He continued to express doubts, however, over the current Public Processions Act, saying that it did not act as a suitable deterrence to those breaking the law.

The required standard of proof to convict is high and the Act would benefit from review.

Read: Parades Commission says Northern Ireland can ‘choose’ a peaceful summer >

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Paul Hyland

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