Father of injured policewoman says she could have died

Officer injured in Ardoyne The injured policewoman was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital

The father of policewoman injured during rioting at Ardoyne in north Belfast on the 12th July said she could have been killed.

His daughter suffered head injuries when she was hit by a lump of masonry thrown from the roof of the shops at about 2200 BST on Monday.

The man, who gave his name as Maurice, said it had been hard to watch her crying in hospital.

She is due to be released from hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 100 riot police were involved in the operation to remove nationalist protesters blocking the road ahead of the return of an Orange Order march.

The crowd later threw petrol bombs, a blast bomb and other missiles at police.

Police had to protect their injured colleague and ambulance crews from further missiles in Ardoyne as they tended to the injured officer, before she was taken to hospital.

The parade eventually went past the flashpoint area at Ardoyne shops. As it passed, stones and bottles were thrown.

Maurice said joining the police had been all his daughter wanted to do since she was 15.

"She loves the work.

"When I saw her lying there last night I thought why should she do it?

"I don't understand why people aren't getting arrested.

'Dumbfounded'

"She's not the only one.

"She just happened to be the unfortunate one who got caught in it all.

"I'm dumbfounded, I'm disgusted to tell you the truth."

He said he found it hard to watch television pictures of the attack.

"The laughing and jeering of it all was unbelievable.

He also questioned why the police had not reacted to the trouble more "proactively"

"I'm baffled by it all.

"I just want to know why people don't get arrested.

"That could have been someone else's daughter yesterday. As I say, I was grateful she wasn't killed.

Explanation

"Had she not been wearing a helmet, she probably would have been killed."

He wants to meet the Chief Constable Matt Baggott to find out why the police are not doing more to tackle the violence.

"Can they explain to me what the tactics are, is there a reason?

"We just can't let the police take anymore of this, we've got to do something.

"In the next couple of days it will all go away, does it start again next year again?

"The politicians have to stand up and take an amount of criticism about this too.

"They must take a lead, as well."

The Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland defended the PSNI's response to the rioting and said they were committed to protecting both police officers and the public.

"If I'm going to put snatch squads in to arrest youths who are rioting against us, I've got to be conscious of what is behind those youths.

"What are the sinister elements that are, in effect, encouraging those youths to attack police.

"The first and the most important priority for me is the safety of my officers and to maintain the safety of the line and to hold the line, in relation to not allowing the disorder to get out of control."

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