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DUP South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke has again challenged the Chief Constable to substantiate his claims that the PSNI have applied the rule of law ‘fairly and impartially’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reiterating widespread public frustration with police inaction at several high-profile paramilitary funerals during the health crisis, Mr Clarke said:

‘‘The PSNI’s failure to intervene at a long line of paramilitary funerals in breach of the Covid-19 regulations has severely damaged public confidence. Whilst law abiding people buried their nearest and dearest within the rules, there seemed to be some groups who felt they were above the law.

Despite promise after promise being broken by organisers, the Chief Constable has insisted on the same futile policy. Sadly, only time will tell whether the police’s ‘engagement’ with organisers of these gatherings will serve to give undue protection to those who have broken the law.

The police cannot bury their head in the sand in relation to the perception of these issues.

It is vital that there is a step-change in attitude by the PSNI. There are in the region of 25 investigations ongoing into wrongdoing at funerals during this period and the public will rightly expect these to lead to prosecutions in a timely fashion. Everybody should be equally subject to the law and everyone in breach of the law should feel the full force of it.’’