50:50 Quotas were Illiberal says Alliance

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson MP, that he is not intending to seek the renewal of the 50:50 Quota for police recruitment. The Alliance Party has consistently opposed the use of quotas on liberal grounds.

Stephen Farry stated: “Alliance has had a longstanding and consistent objection to 50:50 quotas for police recruitment from a liberal perspective.

“We remain strongly committed to a representative and professional police service. The use of quotas in recruitment is a major breach of the critical merit principle.

“The use of a bicommunal quota has reinforced arbitrary division in our society. It was also a blunt instrument failing to reflect the diversity that exists within the presupposed communities and also works against the interests of other under-represented minorities. The British Government had to obtain exemptions from European equality law in order to pursue 50:50.

“Alliance has maintained that there were other alternative means of affirmative action to address the serious underrepresentation within the police in Northern Ireland rather than a rigid quota. The changed political, policing and security context has been instrumental in achieving a more balanced police service.”


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