Ford calls for action on HMIC Report

Commenting on the report from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Alliance Leader David Ford said that the report clearly showed that much work still needs to be done on policing.

David Ford said: “The HMIC Report sets out a number of issues which need to be addressed to ensure that the PSNI becomes the body envisaged by Patten.

“It is clear that there were many failings with the way the Patten reforms were introduced. Most significant of these was the way that large numbers of experienced police officers left the service without fully-trained replacements being available. The result is that some specialist jobs are now being carried out by former officers on short-term civilian contracts.

“However, there remains a shortage of uniformed officers, as Northern Ireland is clearly not the peaceful, stable society envisaged by Patten. Front-line and community policing is suffering.

“It is vital that the recruitment of new part-time reserve officers is stepped up, but this will still take some time before numbers are significant.

“In the meantime, full-time reserve officers continue to provide a major proportion of front-line policing in a number of districts. This includes some excellent community and response policing: the reserve officers are far more than ‘armed guards’.

“It is vital that the Chief Constable, the Policing Board and the Secretary of State quickly agree a comprehensive response to this report which ensures the best possible police service for the people of Northern Ireland.”

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