In 2013 Northern Ireland (NI) witnessed the most protracted period of public-disorder ever seen in the United Kingdom. After Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag in-line with the manner adopted in the rest of the United Kingdom, loyalist protestors blocked roads, attacked offices, and held marches through Belfast city center. During what became known as Operation Dulcet, police had to respond to the protests and violence, mindful of existing tensions in NI. This article reports on data collected from interviews conducted with officers involved in the policing of these events. The findings demonstrate that the police response was understood using narratives concerning the primacy of human rights, a focus on perceived proportionality, and ultimately, related to the potential violence linked to historic conceptions of community divisions in NI.
Pennington, Kenneth, and Orla Lynch. 2015. "Counterterrorism, Community Policing and the Flags Protests: An Examination of Police Perceptions of Northern Ireland's Operation Dulcet." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 38 (April): 543-559. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1057610X.2015.1025609