Baggott rejects 'cannon fodder' claim

Published Thursday, 06 June 2013
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Chief Constable Matt Baggott has rejected claims from the Police Federation that officers were used as "cannon fodder" during the loyalist flag protests.

Baggott rejects 'cannon fodder' claim
The Chief Constable addressed the claims at Thursday's meeting. (© UTV)

Speaking at a meeting of the Policing Board on Thursday, Mr Baggott defended the PSNI's initial response to the demonstrations saying their approach had been "measured".

He said: "I will never accept there is any perception that police officers should or will be used as cannon fodder. Any such accusation or perception is wrong.

"When colleagues faced that violence with such commendable courage and restraint they had the authorities to deploy AEP (baton rounds).

You can be assured that AEP's will never be used for crowd control purposes or to concentrate the minds of potential rioters

Matt Baggott

"In my personal conversations with many colleagues including baton round gunners they have told me they chose not to use those authorities because firstly, they are professional and they saw the need for restraint. I commend them because they saw the bigger picture."

It comes after Police Federation chairman Terry Spence said the policing of the protests, which followed changes to City Hall's flag policy, had been a tactical failure.

Mr Spence said 136 officers were injured and baton rounds should have been used earlier.

"We are not cannon fodder," he commented. "Much of our initial difficulty and injuries can be attributed to us slavishly following the Association of Chief Police Officers' guidelines on tactics to be deployed in the use of baton rounds in public order confrontations.

"To put it bluntly, we were policing public order in NI according to guidelines more appropriate for the rest of the United Kingdom."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
Tomc in Belfast wrote (504 days ago):
Matt talks some nonsense. He mentions restraint. Well I suppose if your boss and his or her bosses would drop you as soon as they could, the ombudsman crawling all over you you on the basis of guilty until proven innocent, and every politician happily using you as a pawn...then yes they used restraint. However I "perceive" it was more a case of "it's easier to take a broken bone as it heals quicker and is less grief than dealing with the situation". Mr Baggott, you and your senior officers care more about image than your officers.
Anon in Lisburn wrote (504 days ago):
Why dont you stand next to your guys then on the twelveth??
david in down wrote (504 days ago):
offiicers injured with contempt from the donkeys leading them. Mr Baggott you shoukld be ashamed
Anon in Belfast wrote (505 days ago):
Maybe he should stand at the shop fronts on the twelveth
bigmac in belfast wrote (505 days ago):
Lets see how long it will take before the water cannon is used in ardoyne.
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