Police Failed To Protect Orange Order Members - Report

Police failed to protect members of the Orange Order who were attacked as they marched through the Short Strand area of Belfast during a parade on 12 July 2013, according to an investigation by the Police Ombudsman.

Senior members of Ballymacarrett District LOL No. 6 complained to the Police Ombudsman after their parade was attacked as they marched along the Newtownards Road area of East Belfast.

The Lodge complained that police failed to protect its members who came under a sustained and pre-planned attack and said they wanted police to make a formal apology for this failure.

In particular, members alleged that a police driver deliberately stopped his Land Rover, which had the effect of blocking the road, which in turn brought the parade to a halt and thereby facilitated the attack.

Lodge members also alleged that police officers stood by and did nothing as they came under attack from people who were in the grounds of Saint Matthew's Church.

Police Ombudsman investigators spoke to members of the Lodge and to police officers. They also examined police documentation, radio transmissions and CCTV footage of the incident.

Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, concluded that police had failed to protect those taking part on the parade.
News Image
He said: "Overall there is no dispute that the parade did come under attack from the Short Strand. While I have found no evidence to suggest any individual officer was guilty of misconduct, it is clear that, for a number of reasons, police had not prepared for such an eventuality.

"My investigators have spoken to senior police officers who acknowledged some of the concerns raised and accept there are a number of lessons to be learned for the policing of future parades in the area."

However Police Ombudsman investigators did not uphold all the allegations made by the Lodge.

They established that the police officer who stopped his Land Rover did so for two minutes.

He continued: "The CCTV footage shows the driver had no option but to stop, due to the crowds of people who had emerged onto the road to greet the ‘return’ parade and had gathered directly in front of the vehicle.

"Despite instructions from his senior officer to move as quickly as possible, the officer had to drive very slowly due to the crowd in front of him, some of whom were children.

"The fact the Land Rover had stopped did allow an opportunity for missiles to be thrown, but we found no evidence this was a deliberate tactic."

CCTV footage showed missiles being thrown from the Church grounds and being thrown back by members of the crowd on the Lower Newtownards Road.

Police Ombudsman investigators established that police had decided not to position officers within the grounds of Saint Matthew's or within the Short Strand area.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

29 November 2021
Overhead Road Signs To Display Public Health Messages
Overhead road signs on key strategic routes will display public health messages to support the ongoing fight against Covid-19, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced. Minister Mallon said: "Keeping people safe is my number one priority and I am committed to doing all that I can to help in the fight against COVID-19.
10 January 2022
Major Lisburn Road Works Scheme Announced
A major road work scheme has been announced for the A30 Glenavy Road in Lisburn. The £308,000 carriageway resurfacing scheme will commence on Monday 17 January, will deliver significant benefits for road users and should be fully completed by 15 April 2022.
04 January 2022
Road Users Urged To Be 'Responsible And Safe'
Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has appealed to all road users be "responsible and safe", as the PSNI release provisional figures showing that 50 people died in road tragedies during 2021, which is 6 fewer people than last year.
07 January 2022
Lurgan Street Lighting To Be Upgraded
Street lighting in Lurgan town centre is to be upgraded in a £125,000 scheme announced by infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon. The scheme, starting on Monday 10 January 2022, will involve the replacement of the existing lights with a new LED street lighting system.
06 December 2021
Three Men Stabbed In Donagh, Co Fermanagh
Three men are being treated in hospital following an incident in Donagh, County Fermanagh. It is understood that all three men were discovered with stab wounds when the PSNI responded to reports of an incident on the Lettergreen Road at about 6am this morning, Monday 06 December.