A DUP MLA has made a request to view the body camera footage of PSNI officers following an incident in Killowen on Saturday, June 29.
MLA Maurice Bradley has described the PSNI’s behaviour towards members of Killowen Lodge as ‘heavy handed’ after officers threatened to carry out body searches of members who were putting up flags ahead of the Somme commemoration.
MLA Bradley was made aware of the matter by his Council colleague councillor George Duddy, who had been contacted by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge and other lodge members.
Bradley said: “How can PSNI officers hold the ladder for those putting up tricolour flags, yet the men from Killowen Lodge were threatened with body searches and asked for their contact details when they were trying to put flags up for a parade which commemorates those that took the ultimate sacrifice at the Battle of the Somme.
“This is a commemoration that remembers everyone from the area – Catholic and Protestant.
“Members of the Lodge were also asked to produce a form, which to my knowledge is issued by the Department for Infrastructure and relates to permission for festive or community events, and does not cover flags. Furthermore, the PSNI would have no jurisdiction over such a form,” claimed Bradley.
Bradley went on to describe the police approach to last Monday night’s Somme Parade as an ‘oversaturation’.
“The Killowen area was swamped with police on Monday night, I can understand the need to keep people safe, particularly if there is a protest, but this was beyond reasonable, and I must point out that there was no trouble at all.
“However, perhaps this is an under-hand attempt by the powers that be to stop future parades in the Heights area using the excuse that it is taking up too many police resources.
“I was made aware that representatives from the Parades Commission were present at Monday night’s parade. I hope that they took note of the dignified manner in which the parade passed. I also hope that they took note of the small handful of protestors watching the parade. These people are a very small minority who continue to cause trouble for the genuine people of the Heights area and Killowen.
“The vast majority of the community in the Killowen and Heights live together in harmony, they are neighbourly and look out for each other, no matter what their colour, creed or religion. “Unfortunately, there are those who don’t want community relations to prosper and their only aim is to provoke hatred.”
Bradley concluded by condemning the graffiti attack on the chapel in Kilrea at the weekend, he described the attack on a place of worship as ‘sickening’. He also condemned the attacks in the Heights area last week.