Northern Ireland

Police warned about riot images of juveniles

The police have been told not to publish any more photographs of suspected rioters if there's any possibility they are under 18.

The tactic was used to identify people involved in trouble during the summer.

But after legal advice, the Policing Board has told the PSNI that for human rights reasons the tactic can only be used in exceptional circumstances.

These would include rioting or anti-social behaviour.

During summer rioting in Belfast, police took more than a hundred hours of footage with dozens of cameras, and then issued photographs of 23 people they wanted to question about the violence.

While the police regard the tactic as a huge success - the policing board has now told the PSNI it shouldn't use it again if there's any possibility that those pictured are aged under 18, because it would be a breach of their human rights.

Four of the photographs released after the Ardoyne riots were of juveniles aged under 18.

The police in Londonderry used similar tactics to tackle interface violence and other offences during the past year.

Operation Exposure involved the release of more than 200 photographs of people the police wanted to question.

It resulted in just over 150 arrests, and 145 people were charged or reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Of those charged, 40 were aged under 18.

But there have been claims that some of those identified as suspected criminals were innocent bystanders.

The police have said they will consider the board's advice, but have not ruled out using the tactic again.