ACC Barbara Gray briefs media on Eleventh night
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray said: “I am relieved that over the past 24 hours we did not see a repeat of the violence we witnessed on our streets this time last year.
“Regrettably, however, our officers did come under attack when on patrol in the interface area at Springfield Rd near Lanark Way where a number of people had gathered and a number of petrol bombs were thrown. Our officers were quick to act. A 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly and a 17-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour. Both males have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
“We will also be investigating incidents of complaints about various materials, some of which were clearly distasteful, placed on bonfires. A 52-year-old man was arrested and charged with offences including criminal damage and he is due to appear at Lisburn Magistrates' Court next month. As is normal procedure, the charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.
“Looking ahead to today’s events, the police officers of our community will be out on patrol to ensure we keep everyone safe, and I would appeal to everyone taking part and those in attendance to enjoy themselves and to do so safely and within the law.
“There is also no doubt there have been challenges over the last week, not just for us a Police Service, but also for other public services.
“None of this is easy and the resolution to these challenging issues does not rest with the Police. The Stormont House Agreement recognised the challenges presented not only by bonfires but by flags and other symbols. It set up the Commission on Flags Identity Culture and Tradition three years ago. We still await any proposals from that Commission.
“In Belfast, we welcome the all-party working group to be established by Belfast City Council.
“Dialogue for next year must begin now.”