Everyone deserves same high standards of policing – Alliance

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has responded to

speculation that the Government may be about to make further concessions

allowing paramilitaries to participate formally in ‘community policing’

through stressing that all the people in Northern Ireland serve the same

high standards of policing.

Stephen Farry stated:

“Every citizen in Northern Ireland is entitled to and should receive the

same high standard of professional policing.

“In building a police service for a shared society two fundamental points

must be clear.

“First, it must be recognised that within a professional police service, as

the PSNI undoubtedly is, every officer, irrespective of their personal

background, should be capable of providing the same professional service to

any part of Northern Ireland. The notion of Loyalist paramilitaries policing

Loyalist areas, or Republicans policing Republican areas, or indeed

Protestant officers policing Protestants or Catholic officers policing

Catholics, is not only unnecessary but absolutely abhorrent.

“Second, the police service should as far as possible be representative of

society as a whole, but this cannot be at the expense of professional

standards. However, those with criminal convictions above a certain level

should not be considered. This point however would not exclude many from

Republican and Loyalist backgrounds from joining the police.

“Community restorative justice has a dubious history in Northern Ireland.

Around the world, there is a growing acknowledgment of the role that

restorative justice can play in both dealing the needs of victims and the

rehabilitating offenders. But it is best practiced through statutory

agencies. At the time, when the PSNI have rightly become the most monitored

and accountable police service in the world, the procedures for ensuring the

high standards of human rights and due process in CRJ are not yet in place.

“The Government must make clear to Republicans that the only way forward on

policing is for Republicans to accept the full legitimacy of the police and

criminal justice system. To anything else would be to condemn some people in

Northern Ireland to inferior quality of policing.”

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