Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton statement following meeting of Belfast City Council

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ACC Hamilton said:"We note the decision of Belfast City Council following their meeting this morning.

Over the last few weeks the PSNI has maintained close liaison with Belfast City Council on the issue of bonfires and this liaison continues today.  PSNI do not have any legal powers regarding the removal of bonfire-related material from the site, but we have been ready to assist and support the Council and any contractor they employ to remove bonfire materials, as we did at two bonfire sites last year. Earlier this week we had the resources ready to support such an operation.

I utterly condemn the intimidation of contractors and recognise the impact this will have had on them, their families and indeed on the Council who had sought their services. Such intimidation must not be tolerated.

The complaint from Belfast City Council citing aggravated trespassing at Avoniel Leisure Centre is now being investigated. Warnings have been delivered by Belfast City Council to inform people they are trespassing, we have an evidence gathering operation in place and all reasonable steps are being taken to establish if offences have been committed. Any evidence gathered will be considered independently by the Public Prosecution Service.

The PSNI is determined to continue to support Belfast City Council. We welcome the  Council’s decision to establish an all-party working group to put in place a framework to achieve more effective management of bonfires and would welcome the opportunity to engage with the working group in the time ahead."

Keeping People Safe