As adverts are published for members of the new Policing Board, Alliance Leader David Ford has attacked Ministers for an ‘apartheid approach’ to governing Northern Ireland.
David Ford said: “Anyone who responds to the current adverts will find that Ministers do not want the best people on the Policing Board. Instead, applicants will be judged on which particular box they tick – whether Protestant/Unionist, Catholic/Nationalist or other.
“Of course the Policing Board must be broadly representative. But elsewhere in the UK, the Nolan principles would require that the best people were appointed. Here, the Secretary of State intends to apply a rigid quota system.
“Although I wrote to Peter Hain about this a month ago, he has failed to respond to any of my concerns. He has chosen to repeat platitudes while persisting with his divisive plans.
“Rigid quotas are wrong in principle. They are offensive and divisive. The Vice Chair of the Policing Board has recently acknowledged that the 50:50 quota for police officers cannot last.
“Yet Ministers are still in favour of treating Northern Ireland as an apartheid society, and encouraging division, not encouraging people to come together.
“In addition, the quota being applied is not even a fair reflection of society. Fourteen per cent of us did not declare that we were either Catholic or Protestant at the last census, yet only one seat out of nineteen is being reserved for that group.
“Quotas are disgraceful in principle, but a quota that both discriminates and reinforces divisions is a demonstration that this
Government is prepared to treat Northern Ireland as an apartheid state.”