Farry welcomes police implementation plan

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson and local Councillor, Stephen Farry, has given a broad welcome to the Secretary of State’s revised Implementation Plan for the police, while expressing reservations about certain details.

Stephen Farry commented:

“Overall, Alliance is substantially reassured by the document, which is a fair attempt to obtain cross-community support for the new Police Service without compromising the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the police.”

“Alliance is committed to a single, integrated professional police service, representative of the whole community. The party welcomes the strong human rights ethos in the Plan, which will contribute to that aim.”

“We recognise the sacrifices made by RUC Officers over the years: the new proposals make it clear that the reformed Service is based on the foundations established by the RUC and we support this.”

“However, we have told the Secretary of State that we have a number of continuing concerns on areas of the Plan that require ongoing assessment.”

“First, the methods of working and membership of District Policing Partnership Boards must be closely supervised, with increased powers only given on an incremental basis as they prove able to work constructively for the entire community.”

“It is an anomaly that former paramilitaries can join boards as political representatives, though not as community representatives. There should be a declaration of non-violence, similar to the Mitchell

Principles, for DPPB members, among other safeguards.”

“Second, the Patten proposals for abolition of the Full-time Reserve and downsizing the service can only be implemented (as Patten said) in the light of the security situation. It must be noted that the security situation is currently worse than at the time Patten reported.”

“In North Down, there is a major problem of rising crime, including serious, violent crime. Police numbers are low, and current officers are overstretched. The increased recruitment for the Part-time Reserve must be a priority, and any reduction in Full-time numbers (whether regular or reserve) must be based on a realistic assessment of operational needs.”

“Third, Alliance remains opposed to the 50:50 recruitment quotas, which are divisive, unnecessary and a breach of European Human Rights directives. They are due for review every three years. Alliance insists that these reviews are thoroughly carried out, to assess the problems, as well as any benefits, from keeping quotas. The lessons of the past few months show that recruitment to the reformed service approximated to the community balance, even without the leadership of Nationalist leaders. These quotas must be removed as soon as possible.”


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