Statues protest: PSNI needs to show 'consistent approach'

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'Save or Statues' rally
Image caption,
No police fines were issued at a 'save our statues' rally in Belfast.

A Policing Board member is calling for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to explain a "difference in approach" to recent demonstrations.

Police issued a total of 68 fines at anti-racism demonstrations in Belfast and Londonderry earlier this month

There were 57 fines issued in Derry, while in Belfast 11 were handed out.

No fines were issued at a "protect our statues" protest outside Belfast City Hall on Saturday.

Alliance MLA John Blair, a board member, told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme that he is asking for a full report on the police response to the demonstrations.

Consistency in approach

"Consistency in approach and confidence in policing are interlinked," he said.

"The PSNI needs to apply a consistent approach to all sections of society and to all occasions and incidents at which they are present.

"Any deviance from that approach risks community confidence in policing and on this occasion particularly of ethnic minority members of our society."

In advance of the organised anti-racism rallies on Saturday 6 June, the police warned against gatherings of more than six people and indicated they would take action if rules were breached.

"Evidence gathering operation"

Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray said the PSNI attended gatherings at a number of locations across Northern Ireland on Saturday 13 June.

"Due to the nature of the different protests and gatherings, community police continued to engage, explain and encourage people to comply with the Health Protection Regulations," she said.

"No arrests were made, and no fines or Community Resolution Notices were issued.

"However, we had a substantial evidence gathering operation in place, and evidence gathered will now be reviewed and we will work with our partners in the Public Prosecution Service as appropriate."