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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 17:57 GMT
Police issue pictures of riot suspects
Wanted poster
Some of those the police want to question
The police have taken the unprecedented step of issuing photographs of people suspected of involvement in street disturbances in north Belfast.

It is the first time the initiative has been used in Northern Ireland in relation to public order offences.

A total of 30 suspects from both the nationalist and loyalist communities are on posters being distributed in the area.

The photographs were taken from police video taken during disorder in July and November 2001 and January 2002.
Alan McQuiilan:
Alan McQuiilan: "Ongoing problem of street disturbances"

The police said that over the past nine months, street violence had resulted in hundreds of civilians and police officers being injured in north Belfast.

The PSNI said the Holy Cross dispute, coupled with street violence and police deployment in the area had cost the taxpayer millions of pounds.

Protests by loyalists outside the Holy Cross Catholic Girls' School has led to violence in north Belfast.

Assistant Chief Constable for Belfast Alan McQuillan appealed for local communities to help identify the individuals.

"We intend to do all in our power to identify these people and bring them to justice," he said.

If we stop the atmosphere of tension and fear, then the community and police benefit

Alan McQuillan,
Assistant Chief Constable

"The people of north Belfast have been facing the ongoing problem of street disturbances for some months. Police officers have been deployed in large numbers in the area in an attempt to control the situation and keep the peace.

"If we can stop the atmosphere of tension and fear in the area, then the community benefits and the Police Service benefits."

Mr McQuillan said it was the "last chance to identify these people" who were a hard core of serious troublemakers among an estimated 300-400 people thought to have been involved in the violence.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Police injured during Belfast riots
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
School talks follow riots
10 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Cars attacked at Catholic school
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