An Alliance Party delegation today met with Security Minister, Shaun Woodward, to discuss policing reform. The party voiced the need to protect the integrity of the Patten Reforms, and to avoid any Balkanisation of the police.
Speaking after the meeting, Alliance Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry stated:
“Alliance stressed that the Patten Reforms had provided Northern Ireland with one of the most professional and accountable police services in the world. These reforms have been carefully balanced and are working well.
“Government must make clear to Sinn Fein that they need to buy into this package, and accept the legitimacy of the PSNI and of the state with respect to upholding the law.
“However, this does not mean that policing must forever be fixed on the basis of the thinking in 2000. New developments in policing, especially internationally, can be taken into account.
“Alliance made clear that any Community Support Officers in Northern Ireland must only be recruited on the same high vetting standards as for the regular police service. Paramilitaries must be ruled out.
“Similarly, Community Restorative Justice schemes should not be co-opted as an alternative to the PSNI in any part of Northern Ireland. It can only ever be a complement to regular policing, and must work in partnership with statutory agencies with all its referrals formally sanctioned.
“There must not be any Balkanisation of policing in Northern Ireland.”