Northern Ireland news

Police say 'vast majority of fines at Black Lives Matter protest weren't issued to black people'

ACC Alan Todd. Picture by Mal McCann

ASSISTANT Chief Constable Alan Todd has said "the vast majority of the fines at (the) Black Lives Matter protest weren't issued to black people".

He was speaking on the BBC after The Irish News reported lawyers' concerns that only `black and non-nationals' are being pursued under serious organised crime legislation in connection with the June 6 demonstration.

The Public Prosecution Service told The Irish News it had made it clear to police that the Serious Crime Act "was aimed at serious crime and it would be a highly exceptional course of action to rely upon this legislation".

Phoenix Law, which is representing people who have been interviewed by officers under caution, say their clients are almost exclusively black, with the exception of one non-Northern Ireland national.

Police have defended their approach to enforcing Covid regulations and said they are committed to discharging their responsibilities in a non-biased and proportionate manner.

Mr Todd did not explain yesterday why more serious charges were primarily being made against people of colour, despite the group making up what he said were a minority of police actions, telling Radio UIster's The Nolan Show "the judgement on it, my judgement on it, my command on it, that's under scrutiny and I don't think it would be proper or professional of me to discuss it further".

Meanwhile, the PSNI revealed yesterday it has issued 1,156 Covid-19 Penalty Notices - starting at £60 fines and rising to £960 - since the beginning of lockdown.

An additional 27 people have been issued with £1,000 `Failure to Isolate' fines which are given to anyone travelling to Northern Ireland from countries not on the so-called green list of exemptions who are required to self-isolate for two weeks.

There have also been 800 Community Resolution Notices issued - 256 in Belfast, which has had a problem with house parties in the student `Holylands' area.

Belfast City Council saw the vast majority of fines - 615 penalty fines and four failure to isolate fines - followed by Derry City and Strabane District Council which has seen 190 penalty fines and three failure to isolate fines.

Sixty-four commercial premises received prohibition notices compared to 139 issued for gatherings at private homes.

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