DUP to meet PSNI over ‘unjustified’ policing towards Larne band

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson.
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson.

DUP representatives are to meet senior PSNI officers this morning (Tuesday) over what the party has described as “unjustifiable policing tactics” towards Larne’s Clyde Valley Flute Band.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said that police action against a band from Larne on Saturday was “not proportionate”.

A bus, in which band members, who had been wearing a Parachute Regiment motif on their shirt sleeves, was returning to Larne, when it was stopped by PSNI officers on the Limavady Road.

In a statement, Mr. Wilson said: “Police should not be swayed by any political pressure to take action.

“The action by the police was totally unjustified. There nothing illegal about supporting any regiment in our armed forces. We will be seeking answers from the police about how this was allowed to develop.”

In a joint statement, East Antrim representatives Sammy Wilson MP, David Hilditch MLA and Gordon Lyons MLA said: “The actions of the PSNI in Londonderry towards the Clyde Valley Flute Band have caused a huge amount of anger and ill-will towards the PSNI.

“The heavy-handedness of the police was completely unwarranted and unjustified and there are many questions that the police will have to answer. “We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Constable and will put these questions to him directly.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd stated yesterday: “Once the parade was finished, we took steps to seek to identify those within the band so that we could fulfil our duty to put the matters and facts before the Public Prosecution Service in order that they might determine if there was any liability on the part of those people responsible.

“That is a legitimate policing purpose and was done so professionally. Once those details and assurances were given to us, those people were free to travel on their way.”