WATCH - Police Chief warns those involved in Belfast disorder will be caught

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Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts

By Q Radio News

The PSNI has ruled out the involvement of loyalist paramilitary groups in orchestrating the violence seen in Northern Ireland in recent days.

It follows a statement from the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), an umbrella group representing the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, that none of its groups were involved in rioting “either directly or indirectly”.

On Thursday Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said it was “clear there was a degree of organisation” to the violence.

Although the PSNI did not confirm paramilitary involvement, they said it was a “likely situation”.

However, Mr Roberts appeared to backtrack on that position on Friday when asked about the LCC statement.

It comes after another night of disorder in west Belfast in which a further 19 police officers were injured, along with a police dog.

He said: “I would appeal to those who wish to engage in such activity not to. It serves no purpose. The police will continue to investigate those who engage in disorder and commit serious offences.

“Last night a further vehicle was hijacked. People can expect if they are convicted of such crimes to receive custodial sentences. It will change people’s lives forever.

“If you are in a place of influence, if you’re a community leader, or anyone in the community who can exert influence, please use it.

“If you’re a parent please make sure you know where your young people are and make sure that your children are not on the streets where they could potentially get hurt, or caught up in circumstances that could change their lives forever.”

The PSNI appears to have backtracked on an assessment that the disorder seen in recent days was orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries.

It follows a statement from the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), an umbrella group representing the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, that none of its groups were involved in rioting “either directly or indirectly”.

Responding on Friday, Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said: “It’s our overall assessment that the violence that has taken place over the last few nights is not orchestrated by a group, in the name of that group.

“There are certainly people who have been engaged in violence who are nothing to do with any illegal organisation. There are young people who have gotten involved and for whatever reason that they’ve decided to do so.

“We feel that there are may be some people, who could have connection to prescribed organisations, who have been present on the scenes of violence.

“But we don’t believe it’s been sanctioned and organised by prescribed organisations for peaceful protests.”

PD Daphne was injured during last night’s disorder. 

 

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