On the day that the Policing Bill begins its ‘Committee Stage’ in the House of Lords, Alliance Leader, Sean Neeson, has singled out the 50:50 recruitment quota as the issue likely to create most debate, and expressed his hope that a compromise can be worked out on this matter.
Sean Neeson said:
“While Alliance has broadly welcomed the Patten Report and supported the Policing Bill, we have made a strong case that the 50:50 recruitment quotas will be divisive, illegal and unnecessary in the goal of creating a representative police service.”
“There is considerable opposition to quotas in the House of Lords, led by the Liberal Democrats. It is possible that if the issue is pushed to a vote that the Government could lose.”
“Both Alliance and the Liberal Democrats remain committed to supporting the final Policing Bill that emerges from Parliament. However, it is clear that a number of changes in areas such as accountability and the powers of the Police Board, while retaining some reference to the continuity of the RUC are required to maximise the broad-based support for the reformed police service.”
“Although the Government remains committed to recruitment quotas, the reality is that their beenfits are essentially cosmetic. Therefore, on this issue, the situation is ripe for some type of compromise to be brokered between the Government and the Liberal Democrats.”