Alliance Assembly member Seamus Close has described the SDLP’s demands on policing as ‘dangerous hype’.
Mr Close slammed comments by SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood, in which he demanded the closure of up to 25 PSNI stations, and an earlier statement, in which Mr Attwood stated he was unconcerned that the 50-50 rule did not apply to part-time officers.
Mr Close stated that operational decisions were based on the Chief Constable’s security assessment, not SDLP electioneering: “Mr Attwood is pathetically playing his hardline nationalist card in the run-up to the May election. It has been known for some time that a number of stations may have to close, but this is because the Chief Constable has decided that it is an effective way to get officers back on the streets, not because Alex Attwood demands it.”
Mr Close said Mr Attwood’s recent comments expressing his lack of concern that the 50-50 rule did not apply to part-time officers was revealing.
Mr Close said: “The SDLP have let the cat out of the bag by this admission. If Alex Attwood is not concerned about the lack of a 50:50 quota for part-time officers, I challenge him to now join with me in calling for the abolition of the quota for traffic wardens and civilian posts too.”
“Quotas are clearly not as important to the SDLP as they have said in the past. If Mr Attwood is serious about getting police numbers up to the level recommended by Patten, he must recognise the fact that rigid quotas are preventing, not helping, this from happening.”