Ford slams SDLP confusion over policing

Alliance South Antrim Assembly member David Ford has described the SDLP’s policy on policing as ‘confused and contradictory’.

Mr Ford was speaking after the SDLP’s Tommy Burns refused to back his party spokesman’s demand to close Templepatrick PSNI station. SDLP Policing Board spokesman Alex Attwood also stated that he was unconcerned that the 50-50 rule did not apply to part-time officers.

Mr Ford 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. Unfortunately, some stations may be closed in order to allow more police to patrol certain areas more effectively, but this is because the Chief Constable has made the decision to get officers back on the streets, not because Alex Attwood demands it.”

Mr Ford 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 Ford 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.” Ends

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