Alliance Party Spokesman on Justice and Human Rights, Stepehn Farry, has reiterated his party’s opposition to the use of 50:50 recruitment quotas in the Policing Bill and challenged the Government to justify going against forthcoming European Human Rights, legislation in the face of united Parliamentary opposition, led by the Liberal Democrats.
Stephen Farry said:
“Amidst all the controversy between Unionists and Nationalists over the name of the reformed police service, the serious problems with another aspect of the Police Bill – recruitment quotas – have been overlooked.”
“While supporting the overall majority of the recommendations in the Patten report, Alliance has led the argument against the 50:50 quotas. We argued that they were unnecessary, divisive ands probably illegal under European Law.”
“In the Hose of Commons, all the opposition parties, including the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists, supported the Liberal Democrat amendment that would have replaced the quotas with a set of recruitment targets and affirmative action programmes to attract individuals from underrepresented sections of society.”
“Over no other aspect of the Policing Bill was such as wide and diverse coalition of concern assembled. The major concern that they shared was that quotas will run contrary to two draft directives set to be implemented in 2002 under the Treaty of Amsterdam.”
“The Government has yet to explain why it is determined to go against forthcoming European Human Rights legislation, especially when human rights are regarded as integral to a new beginning for policing”.