Policing must be ‘seen to be even-handed’ says Beggs

Roy Beggs MLA.
Roy Beggs MLA.

Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs met with senior PSNI officers this morning (Tuesday) to raise concerns over policing following the “detention” of Clyde Valley Flute Band on its return from the Apprentice Boys parade in Londonderry on Saturday.

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 at Limavady Road.

‘Soldier F’ is the only former member of the regiment to face prosecution over the Bloody Sunday shootings in Londonderry.

In a statement, Mr. Beggs said: “There was no determination or conditions set by the Parades Commission for the recent Apprentice Boys’ parade.

“So I fail to understand how the Larne-based Clyde Valley band’s 2019 uniform which included a Parachute Regiment insignia on their sleeve, could have breached the law.”

Commenting on a recent PSNI operation in north Belfast, which he said, saw officers “withdraw” from the site of a controversial Republican bonfire, Mr. Beggs said: “There is a perception from many in the Unionist community that there has not been even-handedness in policing.

“It is important that policing is seen to be even-handed and that the PSNI retains support from the entire community.”