McKee quits partnership body over ‘heavy-handed’ policing of protests

Alderman Jack McKee (right) at the  protest about the flying of the Union flag. INLT 03-331-PR

Alderman Jack McKee (right) at the protest about the flying of the Union flag. INLT 03-331-PR

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ALDERMAN Jack McKee is to resign from Larne Policing and Community Safety Partnership over what he calls “heavy-handed” policing of ongoing Union flag protests in Belfast.

The Traditional Unionist Voice representative - a former chairman of the district policing partnership which preceded the new watchdog body - claimed the PSNI was being exploited as a “political force”.

Ald McKee said: “I am resigning from the policing and community safety partnership because of the heavy-handedness of the policing of the loyalist protesters, particularly in the Short Strand in Belfast where republicans stoned women and children and got away Scot-free. The policing of the protests has set back community relations 20 years and I can’t support that.

“I have been on the council over 40 years and I was the first chairman of the DPP, helping to get it started. I have always supported the police, but I believe that they are now being used as a political police force.”

Ald McKee added: “I want to make it clear that I am totally opposed to rioting and fighting with the police. That is not the way ahead. But I believe that the Policing Board have made a decision to put loyalists off the streets.”

See Letters, page 14