Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson and North Down Candidate Stephen Farry has responded to claims by the DUP’s Sammy Wilson that Alliance has had a Damascus conversion on the use of recruitment quotas for the PSNI.
Stephen Farry stated:
“Alliance has opposed the use of 50:50 quotas since the day the Patten Recommendations were published. Clearly, the DUP have not been paying much attention.
“The creation of a representative police service is something that is central to the new beginning of policing. However, Alliance has never believed that rigid quotas are the way to achieve it. Quotas are divisive as the place labels onto officers, discriminatory as they detract from the merit principle, and illegal. Indeed, the Government had to seek a number of derogations from European law in order to introduce them.
“Practice to date has confirmed these suspicions. The higher than anticipated number of retirements from the RUC created a problem regarding police numbers. The inflexibility of the quota system, and lack of sufficient training capacity has frustrated the process of placing new recruits onto the streets.
“Alliance believes that the way most positive way to increase the Catholic proportion is through targeted recruitment, and strong leadership from all of those who have influence across the community.
“The difference between Alliance and the DUP is that Alliance wants to see a single, professional police service that can provide fair and impartial policing for the entire community, while the DUP wish to use the police as a political football.”