700 POLICE OFFICERS INJURED IN PUBLIC DISORDER

Terry Spence says 700 police officers injured in rioting over the past year

Terry Spence says 700 police officers injured in rioting over the past year

A POLICE union boss has revealed that almost 700 officers have been injured in a year during street trouble.

The figure is double the official figure of 350 given by the PSNI last month.

Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said around 20 per cent of frontline officers had been hurt at flag disputes, parades and counter protests since July 1, 2012.

Among those injured was a police woman from England who sustained a fractured leg during severe rioting in Ardoyne on July 12.

And a PSNI officer was knocked unconscious last month during a loyalist counter protest in Belfast city centre’s Royal Avenue.

Mr Spence said his members at the cold face were paying the “full and shameful price” from public disorder.

However, he said the level of injuries to officers and their families was “unsustainable”.

“I am immensely proud of all those officers, They have more than met their professional commitment to face down rioters and to maintain law and order in the most threatening circumstances,” said Terry Spence.

“At the same time they also have to be on their guard against the dissident republican threat which again showed its potential for murder in Cullyhanna.”

Mr Spence said common sense and dialogue should be seen as “the proper way to engage”.

“It is the only way to arrive at an accommodation with each other,” he said.

On Wednesday it was revealed that the PSNI bill for policing loyalist parades and protests for eight months had topped £28 million.

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