Sectarianism in riot investigations exposed
Sectarianism in riot investigations exposed

Figures have shown a significant disparity between the arrest and charges rate for riots in loyalist and republican areas in Belfast.

It was revealed last week that 63 people were arrested and 52 charged in relation to the Ardoyne riots in July last year compared to just six arrests and one person charged following the Rathcoole disturbances in October.

Another 19 people were charged in nationalist areas of Belfast in rioting connected to the Ardoyne disturbances.

The Ardoyne riots occurred in July last year after a sectarian parade was forced through the area and resulted in the PSNI police using high levels of violence to quell nationalist protests.

The Rathcoole rioting erupted after a series of police raids looking into the activities of the unionist paramilitary UVF in North Belfast.

A leading policing and justice academic said the differential treatment of Catholic youths should be “questioned and carefully monitored”.

Senior law lecturer at the University of Ulster, Dr Mary O’Rawe said the “obvious disparity” warranted. further investigation.

“Where some public order incidents give rise to deployment of baton rounds and water cannons and are followed by large numbers of arrests, while other incidents do not, I do think there are questions there that should be asked and monitored by the Policing Board.”

Meanwhile, the Policing Board’s human rights committee criticised the PSNI for publishing photographs of Catholic children it accused of being involved in rioting in north Belfast and Derry.

The board’s human rights committee, in a new report, said police “should never release images or other details of any person under the age of 18 years into the public domain [unless] . . . all reasonable methods have been tried and failed”.

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