Northern Ireland

Twelfth parades and riots cost £2.2m over four days

Rioting in Ardoyne, July 2010
Image caption The most serious rioting in July was in the Ardoyne area

It has emerged that the cost of policing parades and disorder in Northern Ireland over four days in July was £2.2m.

The most serious rioting was in Ardoyne, when rioters clashed with police in the area following an Orange Order parade on 12 July.

The figures from the Policing Board include helicopter costs and damage to vehicles.

The cost of policing parades across NI from 1 April to 31 July was £3.67m.

Earlier this month, the PSNI chief constable, Matt Baggott revealed that dealing with four days of rioting in Ardoyne in July cost the police £1.1m.

The board's figures show the number of police officers deployed to police parades on the 12 and 13 July was 2,114.

The number of plastic bullets fired from the 11 July to 14 July was 143.

The total cost of policing bonfires over the Twelfth of July period was £154,000, while the cost of policing interfaces was £246,000.

Basil McCrea, the Ulster Unionist chairman of the board's human rights committee, said it was time to start talks with the Department of Justice and other agencies to "address issues around contentious parades so that we do not have a repeat of this serious disorder next year".

"Such violence not only has an impact on the use of policing resources but has a significant longer term impact on police community relations and community confidence which is also a major concern for the board," he said.

"The parading issue is firmly on the board's agenda and committee members are ready to talk to other agencies to help move the debate forward so that police are not faced with the same situation next summer."

Policing board member, Martina Anderson of Sinn Fein, said if contentious parades were resolved, the cost of policing parades "would be reduced by 75%".

"We need a genuine coming together of representatives from the loyal orders and the community to discuss arrangements for future parades that would recognise the fact that the rights of parades must be balanced with the right to live free from sectarian harassment," she added.

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