Alliance demands end to unfair police recruitment quota

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has welcomed the NIO announcement of a review of the effectiveness of current police recruitment measures under the temporary provision of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, but emphasised that any consultation must take into account a far wider range of issues than before.

Dr Farry stated:

“Alliance welcomes the NIO announcement of a further review into 50:50 recruitment. We have opposed these quotas from the start, believing that it was wrong for the government to break with European equality standards. Patten only envisaged that this system would be in place for a maximum of ten years, and the Government must make clear that this is the last such review.

“Any review must be comprehensive in its scope. We believe that there are a number of crucial issues that must be taken into account.

“First, The increase in Catholic representation with the PSNI is very positive, but it is important that the NIO try to establish whether it is the 50:50 measures or the changed political and security context that is the greater source of increased Catholic recruitment.

“Second, the issue of ethnic minority representation in the police must be taken seriously. This is an issue of growing significance as our society becomes more diverse, and also with hate crime remaining a major problem. At present, most ethnic minority candidates are lumped in under the ‘Protestant and Other’ category, making it harder to be recruited. This is clearly a perverse outcome.

“Third, much greater analysis to ensure that there is greater diversity within the different sections of the community represented within the police. Again, 50:50 is a blunt instrument. There is no point celebrating growing number of Catholics in the police if the vast bulk of Catholics are coming from one particular background, but others, for example from working-class Republican communities are seriously under-represented.

“Finally, some account must be given to the impact of these quotas on morale within the police service and officers. Already, there is concern at any prospect of these being used implicitly for issues of internal promotion.”


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