FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
re Drugs Awareness
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Over the holiday season there has been the appearance of various flags around the Borough.
Newspapers throughout Northern Ireland have reported instances where the police have removed flags, or where community forums have been set up to look at such issues.
Will the police outline for the community their role in the question of flags, when they will take action to remove a flag and can they outline what constitutes a para-military flag?
The District Commander said “Insofar as what the PSNI are doing, I can advise that police powers with regard to the display of flags and emblems have changed following the repeal of ‘The Flags and Emblems Act’. Police powers for the removal of such items are now restricted to those occasions when a Breach of the Peace is considered imminent”.
“The issue of the display of Flags and Emblems and the associated community tensions is one, which the community must resolve itself. It is for community leaders and people of influence within communities to work towards agreements whereby such displays are reduced. Local police will work in support of such efforts but as I have already stated we have no legal powers to remove flags save where a Breach of the Peace is considered imminent. The law is very specific in relation to what constitutes a breach of the peace and the following are the guidelines arising out of many cases that have been before the courts:
•If there is a real possibility of a breach of the peace, then preventative action is justified
•In deciding what action is justified, regard must be had to the immediacy or imminence of the breach. Possible courses of action would include:
(a) forcible restraint where a breach is about to occur; or
(b) arrest where the circumstances justify it,
•There must be a ‘real’ as opposed to a ‘remote’ possibility of a breach of the peace. Thus if the defendants were a considerable distance from the anticipated scene it would not normally be a ‘real’ possibility”.
“Any flag or emblem will be regarded as a para-military flag if it purports to represent any para-military organization that is listed in Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Such organisations include:
1.The Irish Republican Army (IRA)
2.Cumann na mBan
3.Fianna na hEireann
4.The Red Hand Commando
6.The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
7.The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
8.The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
9.The Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO)
10.The Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
11.The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF)
12.The Continuity Army Council
13.The Orange Volunteers
14.The Red Hand Defenders
There are another 21 named international terrorist organizations included and these can be found in Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000”.
“The only exception may be where a flag represents the Ulster Volunteer Force, a movement founded in 1912 by Sir Edward Carson to fight against Home Rule. Many UVF men joined the 36th Ulster Division of the British Army and died in large numbers during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. If such a flag solely commemorates the UVF men of the 36th Ulster Division of the British Army and the battles fought by them during the First World War, then it would not be regarded as a para-military flag. The Ulster Volunteer Force was not banned until 1966 by the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Captain O’Neill as it had been formed a few months earlier with the express intention of executing ‘mercilessly and without hesitation’ known IRA men.”
In the Dungiven area, especially during the afternoon, there are quad bikes beings used on footpaths and by children.
They cause obstructions, and stop people walking on the foothpaths with their shopping and using prams. Have the police a policy to deal with this offence?
The District Commander said “Limavady police have received complaints about young people riding quads. Most complaints emanate from Greysteel Village, but Dungiven and surrounding areas are also affected”.
Complaints from Dungiven sector:-
June:2004 - 0 complaints, July 2004 - 5 complaints, August:2004 - 0 to date
“The Community Policing Team in Limavady has prepared an information sheet. In easy to read language it explains what the legal position is the danger and annoyance riding quads, scramblers, go-peds and buzz boards cause to residents in the areas. It also identifies individual police officers, Sergeant McCabe, and Constables Mickey Walker and Ian McGregor who have a particular interest in this problem”.
“Two hundred leaflets have been printed and disturbed to residents in the Greysteel area. More may be printed and distributed later in other areas including Dungiven”.
“The police policy will be to promote public safety above all, and where police officers note offences it will be the policy to stop the quads, identify the drivers and owners and prosecute for offences under the road traffic order where appropriate”.
“Recently one youth from the Dungiven area has been detected for riding a quad in a public place and dealt with by an informed warning, under the Youth Diversion Scheme. Another two cases are currently in the system.”
The police have also designed a letter which covers the advice and the legal aspect (pdf 103 KB) of quad bikes.