PHOTO CATION: Chief Constable Simon Byrne, accompanied by Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, speaking to media outside Police Headquarters on Saturday evening (Saturday 6th February).

Whilst the Police Ombudsman has just commenced her initial investigation into yesterday’s events on the Ormeau Road, I felt it necessary to address the widespread public concern across our community. It is I think important that people understand that Police did not attempt to prevent the commemoration.

After the commemoration had finished, the officers present became involved in an incident with a man who had been there. What followed was not reflective of the values of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Having reviewed the Body Worn Video from yesterday’s incident on the Ormeau Road a decision has been taken to suspend one officer and re-position a second officer.

I want to apologise to all those who were present yesterday and to those who have been affected by what they have seen on social media.

I will be writing to the legal representatives of families who lost loved ones in the 1992 atrocity and offering to meet them in person to listen to their concerns and to apologise.

The Police Service has, in particular during the last week, been under significant scrutiny from all communities for its policing of the Coronavirus Regulations.

Policing during a global pandemic and the enforcement of the Health Protection Regulations is at times drawing us into conflict with the communities we serve. We do not want this and are keen, if we can, to find a way to draw a line under the events of the last week and move forward together with the community.

We are and continue to fully co-operate with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation.

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