Police officer to be prosecuted for driving Land Rover dangerously at junior Orange Order parade

A PSNI officer faces prosecution for driving a Land Rover dangerously during disturbances at a junior Orange Order parade. Picture by UTV

A PSNI officer is to be prosecuted for driving a police vehicle dangerously during disturbances at a junior Orange Order parade last year.

The Police Ombudsman said it received "more than 20 complaints about different aspects of police conduct" following the march on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast on Easter Tuesday.

The Ombudsman submitted a file on the complaints to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Although one officer is now to be prosecuted for driving a police Land Rover dangerously, another officer, who deployed CS spray in an area where children were present, will not face prosecution.

A 12-year-old boy said he was left with "burning and stinging" eyes after the gas was sprayed.

Police said at the time that CS spray was used after two officers were injured and damage was caused to a PSNI motorcycle when adult participants attacked officers.

Commanders said an officer escorting the parade had been trying to prevent cars being damaged by passing bandsmen.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said: "The PPS has now directed that one officer should be prosecuted for dangerous driving in relation to the manner in which he drove a police Land Rover.

"No prosecutions have been directed in respect of the use of CS Spray or hand held batons by police officers, or in relation to a number of other complaints about the way in which police vehicles were driven.

"The Police Ombudsman's Office is now conducting a review of those matters in which the PPS directed no prosecution to establish if the actions of any police officer amounted to a breach of the police code of ethics."

A community police officer had to review his security arrangements after his personal details - including his name, picture and home address - and threats against him were posted online after the march.

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