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Chief Constable issues statement after disorder breaks out at memorial event

Chief Constable Simon Byrne has issued a statement on Friday evening (5 February) after an incident today at a memorial event at Sean Graham Bookmakers on the Ormeau Road, Belfast.

Disorder broke out after officers approached a person to talk to him over a breach of Public Health Regulations.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne said:

Officers from the South Belfast Local Policing Team came across a group of between 30 and 40 people gathered at what was a memorial event at the Sean Graham Bookmakers on the Ormeau Road at 2.30pm this afternoon Friday 5 February.

“As the event concluded, two officers approached a person to talk to him about a breach of the Health Protection Regulations.

“The situation quickly escalated and a man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting arrest. He was taken to Musgrave Police Station and was released at 4.04pm. In the course of the incident a police officer sustained a minor injury to his face.

“We are now reviewing all footage of the incident including our officers Body Worn Video and have notified the Office of the Police Ombudsman, and we are carrying out an assessment of the conduct of the officers involved.

“I have personally spoken to the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister, the local Member for Parliament and a range of other stakeholders to brief them on what has happened.

“I fully recognise the sensitivities of this incident and just how difficult a day this would have already been for the families who lost loved ones in the atrocity. That should not be forgotten.

“We are acutely aware that this is the latest incident to raise concerns about the enforcement of Coronavirus Regulations and illustrates there are no easy answers.

”I would appeal for calm at this time.”