The district partnerships are monitored by the Policing Board

Members of a district policing partnership in County Tyrone say they have been threatened by loyalist paramilitaries.

Members of Cookstown DPP have been told they will be harassed if any controversial loyal order parades are re-routed during the marching season.

The chairman of the body, Trevor Wilson, said the threat would not affect their decisions.

"To date there has been no contentious loyalist parades re-routed in Cookstown and to be honest I don't foresee it being a problem," he said.

"I would ask those who are thinking of issuing these sort of threats, or indeed have issued these sort of threats, that they really serve no useful purpose."

Cookstown DPP chairman Patsy McGlone condemned the threat and said it would not deter the partnership from its work.

"I don't know what these people are trying to achieve by it, but all it does is show them up for what they really are - thugs, gangsters and fascists," said the SDLP member.

Mr McGlone called on the Orange Order to condemn the threats.

"In instances where threats have been made around parades then quite clearly those associated with the parades and responsible for their organisation should make a very clear stance and repudiate this action from paramilitary organisations," he said.

The threats are the latest intimidation against DPP members across the province, who until now have been the target of dissident republicans.

In the past year there have been several arson attacks and intimidation directed against Catholic members of the partnerships.

District policing partnerships were set up across Northern Ireland under reforms initiated by a commission headed by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and implemented by the government.

They fall under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Policing Board which handles some of the most sensitive issues facing policing.

District policing partnerships are made up of councillors and members of the local community, who work alongside the Police Service of Northern Ireland's 29 District Command Units in trying to meet local community policing needs.

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