PSNI defend handling of local band parade

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Police have defended their handling of a band parade at which officers seized alcohol from spectators.

The Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band event took place in Markethill on Friday and the organisers have thanked police for their assistance on the night.

However, well-known local man and Victims’ campaigner William Frazer claimed police ‘spoilt and soured’ the family friendly nature of the event.

And he claimed police could have dealt with the issues in a ‘less heavy handed manner’.

Responding, police said they had worked closely with parade chiefs.

Posting on Facebook they said: “As always, the communication and links with the organisers were second to none, and they ran a tight ship in terms of minimum disruption to the town and a family event.

“They openly discouraged any behaviour, including drinking along the parade route, and indeed commented favourably on our action in making sure their efforts were upheld. A commendable job by them.

“However, a few individuals have chosen to capitalise on their own lack of knowledge of the law to paint us as, in some mysterious way, ‘heavy handed’.

“Quite possibly for a point scoring exercise, but certainly out of step with the organisers and those truly associated with the event.”

Defending their seizing of the alcohol, police added: “People could have been fined or reported to the council for many such offences, but a more sensible approach was taken.

“People were told to take their pints back inside licensed premises.

“People with unopened bottles on the parade route were told to go and put it in the boot of their car.

“Those who were openly drinking in the street though, or who tried telling us we couldn’t, did have it taken from them.”

Responding to claims that TSG officers marched through the town, PSNI Craigavon said: “It was local policing teams, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and the District Support Team.

“It is fairly standard practice to use the likes of Land Rovers to get large numbers of officers into a location.

“It also leaves the cars free for the response crews who need them for normal policing duties.”

Posting on their Facebook page, Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band said: “We would like to thank the PSNI, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and St John Ambulance for all their help and assistance in the lead up to the parade and on the night itself.”