One third of entire PSNI budget spent policing terrorism and disorder

Scenes at the Belfast riots on July 13 last.

The PSNI spends almost a third of its budget tackling terrorism, public disorder and parading, it has been revealed.

The cost of policing loyal order parades and protests alone during the last six months was just over £6m, Stormont’s Justice Department said.

At the same time, dissident republicans opposed to the peace process still pose a threat, and have targeted Belfast businesses and police officers in recent months.

Stormont justice minister David Ford said the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) devotes 32% of its total budget to dealing with the security situation. Its allocation for this financial year is £791m.

Armed officers stand watch following the discovery of a bomb on December 13.

Before Christmas, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott said dissidents had shifted tactics to target the economy.

He commended Belfast’s shoppers for going back on the city streets, but claimed international investment was being lost because of terror attacks.

A suspect bomber was engulfed in flames after a device exploded as he was about to plant it in a Belfast city centre store. Republican extremists also tried to blow up an underground car park and posted parcel bombs to prominent figures including Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.

They have targeted police stations for repeated mortar bomb attacks and killed officers, soldiers and a prison warder.

Last July 12, the height of the loyal orders marching season, was marred by violence after the organisation which adjudicates on contentious marches barred Orangemen from walking past Ardoyne in North Belfast.

Loyalists have mounted a constant presence at the sectarian interface dividing the two sides since then, requiring a security presence.

Additional costs are mainly made up of police overtime but also include helicopters, catering and vehicle fuel.

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