PSNI Chief appeals for end to violence

Chief Constable George Hamilton speaking at a press conference in Derry
Chief Constable George Hamilton speaking at a press conference in Derry

PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton, has appealed for the extreme violence and disorder in the Bogside to end before someone is ‘killed or seriously injured’.

Speaking at a press conference in Derry today, he said: “If this continues someone will be killed or seriously injured. We have already had police officers sustain injury, thankfully not too seriously and many of them are back at work.

“It is only a matter of time before police or some of the young people involved in this are seriously injured or worse.

“All of us who are opposed to violence and civic, religious and political leaders need to come together with one voice and say not in our name.”

Seventy five petrol bombs and two blast bombs were thrown at police during a sixth night of disorder in the Bogside area.

The Chief Constable said “people in this great city need to use whatever influence they have to bring this reckless disorder to an end.”

He said that the young people involved in the disorder were ‘being influenced and orchestrated by adults we believe have connections to violent dissident republican groupings’.

The Chief Constable appealed to parents to “know where their children are, to have control over them and safeguard them from violent dissident republicans who don’t care about the future of the young people.”

He said police believe members of a variety of dissident republican groupings are involved in orchestrating the violence.

However, he said ‘the so-called New IRA are probably the primary grouping behind the current disorder and the murderous attacks on police’.

Referring to the baton rounds fired by the PSNI, the Chief Constable said police will only use force towards young people when ‘necessary’, ‘proportionate’ or ‘appropriate’.

He said police ‘have to do our duty and have to stand up and enforce the law’.

The Chief Constable also addressed rumours that the army were back on the city’s streets.

He said that military assistance was used during a search operation for explosives and this was ‘nothing out of the ordinary’ and something that the public would expect.