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DUP Leader Designate Edwin Poots met the Chief Constable Simon Byrne yesterday, accompanied by party colleagues. Alongside Mr Poots and Deputy Leader Designate Paula Bradley MLA were the DUP members of the Policing board and MLAs William Irwin, William Humphrey and Gary Middleton. Also in attendance was Ald Frank McCoubrey.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Poots said, “I had the opportunity to speak with the Chief Constable on the morning after my election as leader designate of the Party. However, this was a very useful opportunity to have a wider discussion and to ensure colleagues were able to convey their views to the Chief Constable.

It was a forthright meeting in which the Chief Constable was left in no uncertain terms that confidence in policing has been hugely damaged as a result of the Storey funeral. There has been a perception of two-tier policing for some time but that has now spread right across the wider unionist and loyalist community. It has also been reinforced by the drip-feed of revelations in relation to that funeral and the actions of the PSNI senior leadership.

Events in Londonderry over the last few days demonstrate the threat still posed by those who want to drag Northern Ireland back. Such scenes are completely unacceptable and there must be a policing response.

Police officers are an integral part of our community, and we value their bravery and sacrifice. Their dedication and bravery is undermined by policing which appears to be driven by political considerations rather than application of the law.

There is a need for real and meaningful engagement by the PSNI with the wider unionist and loyalist community. The DUP is a party of law and order. The PSNI must take action to rebuild public confidence and demonstrate clearly that everyone is equal under the law and equally subject to the law.”