EDITORIAL - The cost of abnormality

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Great efforts have been made over the last decade to bring a sense of normality to policing in the North.

Despite a number of setbacks, this has been successful to a large extent.

This did not come cheap, however, as vast sums of money were spent on pensioning off officers from the discredited RUC and on establishing oversight bodies which are necessary to build public confidence in the policing service.

Such expense was understandable and even necessary in order to affect major change and normalise policing.

What is not acceptable is that huge sums of money are still being spent on what has been labelled ‘abnormal policing’ - namely handling the fallout from contentious parades and protests.

Almost £30 million has been spent dealing with such protests - the vast majority of which have been by loyalists - since December.

Spending such large amounts on ‘abnormal’ policing, in only a handful of streets, is no doubt reducing the amount of resources available for ‘normal’ policing across the rest of the North.

Of course the police have a duty to keep the public safe and have a responsibility to deploy officers wherever they are needed.

It is therefore up to those who claim to be in positions of leadership in communities where these protests are taking place to call an end to this pointless waste of money.

To date their silence has been deafening in the face of nightly protests and mounting expense.

In contrast, those campaigning on behalf of those who suffered injustices at the hands of the state in the past are continually reminded of the cost of getting to the truth.

£30 million would go a long way to addressing past injustices instead of facilitating abnormalities in the present.